HC Deb 15 February 1960 vol 617 cc951-2
28. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to encourage more people to become dentists.

Mr. Walker-Smith

There is at present no shortage of recruits to the dental pro- fession and the dental schools are virtually full. Measures have been taken to implement all the main recommendations of the McNair Report on Recruitment to the Dental Profession.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that what I am concerned about is the short-term position of the supply of dentists, which is causing such a serious position to arise in the school dental service? Would not one way of alleviating this position be to encourage more dentists from the surplus of dentists at present on the Continent to apply for temporary service in this country?

Mr. Walker-Smith

There is nothing to prevent foreign dentists practising in this country, provided they obtain title to registration. Indeed, under Section 16 (2) of the Dentists Act, 1956, a foreign practitioner qualifies for registration provided he satisfies the General Dental Council that he is of good character, holds a foreign diploma and has the requisite knowledge and skill.

Dr. Summerskill

As the Report on Recruitment to the Dental Profession mentioned that this profession is particularly suitable for women, could the right hon. and learned Gentleman say approximately how many of the recruits are women?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Not without notice, but I will get the information for the right hon. Lady.