HC Deb 03 May 1951 vol 487 cc1410-1
43. Squadron Leader A. E. Cooper

asked the Minister of Education if he has yet received the recommendations of the Whitley Council on salaries of school dental officers; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Tomlinson

The Dental Whitley Council does not make its recommendations to me but to the employing authorities. I have, however, seen the recommendations and am glad that agreement has been reached on a salary scale for dentists in local authority employment which will help to remove the present difficulties of the school dental service. Local education authorities are already aware from an Administrative Memorandum issued in October, 1949, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy, that they do not need my approval to the payment of salaries which are in accordance with a nationally negotiated scale to staff employed in the school health service. I am sure that local education authorities will lose no time in implementing the recommendations in view of the importance of this service.

Squadron Leader Cooper

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many local authorities the new recommendations are not regarded as being any contribution whatever? Is it not time that the right hon. Gentleman did some fundamental thinking on this vital problem?

Mr. Tomlinson

I cannot understand that. I should like to know of any authority which suggests that this makes no contribution. It is what they have been asking for.

Commander Maitland

What improvement does the right hon. Gentleman anticipate in the service as a result of these recommendations?

Mr. Tomlinson

I anticipate that it will be easier to obtain dentists, because the salaries will be far in excess of those paid in the past.

Mr. Hastings

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the London County Council have been paying these rates for many months, or years, and still cannot get more than about half the dentists they need?

Mr. Tomlinson

That has been part of the problem and it will remain until we get more dentists.