§ 37. Mr. Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many dentists have entered the school dental service in the last nine months; and to what extent the service is now below establishment.
The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Commander T. D. Galbraith)
The number of dentists in general practice taking part in the National Health Service has fallen from 1,254 at the end of 1951 to 1,210 at the end of last month. In the same period the number of dentists in the school service has increased from 104 to 131. There is no formal establishment of dentists in the school service, but I am advised that the present number, which is equal to the highest number ever before, is still far short of the total that could usefully be employed.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Can the Minister give the reasons, or what he thinks are the 755 reasons, for the increase in the number of dentists now going into the school dental service? Is it because of the recent Health Service charges that dentists are now being driven into the school service as private practice is less remunerative?
No, Sir. It is due, in the first place, to the improved salary scales in the school dental service, and also to the reduction in the numbers attending the general dental service.
§ Sir W. Darling
Does my hon. and gallant Friend accept the suggestion from the opposite benches that dentists are "being driven" into the school service?