HC Deb 04 May 1993 vol 224 c12
10. Mr. Enright

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultations she has had on the provision of NHS dental services as outlined in the Bloomfield report; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney

Many individuals, especially dentists, and organisations have submitted their views. I have met a wide range of interests and will continue to do so.

Mr. Enright

In his headlong, gadarene rush to commercialise dental practice, will the Minister pause for a moment and today give a clear and unequivocal guarantee that he will not rob more than 100,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers of free dental care?

Dr. Mawhinney

I did not quite recognise myself in that question. As I have already told the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), we gave a commitment to consult on the Bloomfield report. As I recall, that commitment was welcomed by members of the Labour party and, I think I am right in saying, even by members of Labour's Front Bench. That is what we are doing: we are listening to the views expressed on those and other matters and when we reach a conclusion, we shall be sure to let the hon. Gentleman and the House know what that conclusion is.

Mr. Couchman

My hon. Friend will know, because I have written to him, that a number of my constituents are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain NHS orthodontic treatment for their children and face increasing waiting times. Will my hon. Friend undertake to examine the issue closely because it is extremely worrying that parents are not obtaining the treatment necessary for their children when it is necessary?

Dr. Mawhinney

As my hon. Friend says, he has written to me about the subject. He will know that we attach as much importance as he does to ensuring that such orthodontic treatment is available to his constituents and to those of other right hon. and hon. Members. For the most part, we are very satisfied with the provision of orthodontic treatment, but there are one or two areas that we are considering more closely to see whether further steps need to be taken.

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