HC Deb 12 March 1962 vol 655 cc891-2
17. Mr. P. Browne

asked the Minister of Health if he will take further steps to improve the pay and conditions of school dental officers in an endeavour to overcome the present shortage of such officers.

Miss Pitt

The pay and conditions of these officers are negotiated between the local authorities and the profession on the Dental Whitley Council.

Mr. Browne

Would not my hon. Friend agree that there is a grave shortage of school dental officers? Is she aware that in my constituency a post has been advertised and unfilled for five years? Does she not think that it is time that the Government stepped in and did something about this, and will she consult the Whitley Council and the local authorities to see if something can be done?

Miss Pitt

Recruitment to the school dental service is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education. On the question of increased pay, increases in pay amounting to 12½ per cent. were agreed to in the Dental Whitley Council and published in January, 1961, with effect from 1st October, 1960.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Is the training of dentists not the responsibility of the Minister of Health, and ought he not to be rather anxious that we should be encouraging a number of the young men and women coming out of the schools to train for dentistry? Surely it is high time that we had more drive from the Minister to get more people to train in dentistry and so fill all the vacancies that exist not only in the school dental service but in the general dental service?

Miss Pitt

That is another question, but, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the number of places for the training of dentists is being increased.

Mr. J. Howard

Would the hon. Lady consult with the Minister of Education to see if they could co-operate in a campaign to prevent the incidence of caries in children's teeth, which is a problem accentuated by the shortage of school dentists?

Miss Pitt

I shall consider that.