§ 2. Mr. Coleman
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received concerning the Government's proposal to increase the charges for dental treatment; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
My right hon. Friend has received seven letters about dental charges in recent weeks, including three from the hon. Gentleman. The Government are currently considering dental charges and will make a statement in due course.
§ Mr. Coleman
Is the Minister aware of the concern expressed by the profession and health authorities that, as a result of the proposed charges, the considerable sums being spent on dental education will be wasted? Does he agree that the route to good health is good dental health? Is that not the way to an economic Health Service?
§ Mr. Roberts
I remind the hon. Gentleman that dental charges were first introduced by a Labour Government in May 1951.
§ Mr. Roberts
Perhaps that is why the hon. Gentleman, like me, should put his money where his mouth is. The popularly held belief is that dental charges have a deterrent effect. That may be so in the short term, but there is no firm evidence that they have a significant effect in the long term.
§ Sir Anthony Meyer
Does my hon. Friend recognise that in recent years dental charges have risen markedly more than other National Health Service charges? In view of the greater political difficulty of increasing charges for other health services, will my hon. Friend look at the matter again since it appears that dental charges have risen far too much?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I think that the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) wishes to give notice that he wants to raise the issue contained in question No. 1 on the Adjournment. Is that right?