HC Deb 26 April 1951 vol 487 cc560-2
30. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Health what steps are now being taken to utilise the services of experienced foreign dentists in this country who have been naturalised; what discussions have taken place with the Dental Board on this subject; and with what result.

Mr. Marquand

The Government intend at a convenient opportunity to introduce a Bill which will include proposals for new methods of assessing the qualifications of foreign-trained dentists.

Mr. Awbery

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a small number of foreign dentists who have been in this country for about 10 or 12 years, who have become naturalised, and who have been fully qualified to practise dental surgery for many years; and will he act as speedily as possible to bring them into the scheme?

Mr. Marquand

I am well a ware of the problem, and I have given it a good deal of personal attention. I am satisfied that within the existing law all that can be done has been done.

Mr. Janner

Can my right hon. Friend say when the Bill is likely to be introduced? This is a very pressing matter, particularly in view of the shortage of dentists at present, and the fact that these men are capable of carrying out this particular work. Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of them have already been employed, but are now prevented from carrying on dental surgery?

Mr. Marquand

My hon. Friend knows that I cannot say when a particular piece of legislation will be introduced.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

Can the Minister say whether there will be a dozen foreigners affected, or 100 or 1,000?

Mr. Marquand

So far as I am aware, the number now in this country is a good deal fewer than 100.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

In view of the fact that there is a general shortage of dental practitioners, especially in the school dental service, does not my right hon. Friend consider that some way out of this unjust dilemma might be found by allocating these people to the school dental service, where perhaps they would be more welcome than if they are competing elsewhere?

Mr. Marquand

I cannot allocate, nor can my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education allocate, to the school dental service personnel who are not qualified under the law to practise dentistry.

Earl Winterton

Is the Minister aware that many of these dentists were brought over here under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Refugees, of which I was at the time Chairman? Many of them have brilliant qualifications in their own country and is it not unfortunate that in this country there is certain professional feeling against foreign dentists practising here, even though they may be just as efficient as British dentists?

Mr. Marquand

I can assure the noble Lord and my hon. Friends, without any qualification whatever, that I have the greatest sympathy with their point of view in this matter.

Mr. Hastings

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the standard of qualifications in other countries is in some cases considerably below our own; and will he take every precaution to ensure that the standard of work by dental surgeons is not reduced?

Mr. Awbery

Will my right hon. Friend bring to the attention of the Dental Board the feeling of the Members of the House on this subject?

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