HC Deb 17 October 1994 vol 248 cc10-1
10. Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has had concerning provision of NHS dental services in (a) Clwyd and (b) Wales.

Mr. Richards

During the two-year period between 1 October 1992 and 30 September 1994, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State received 142 written representations about the provision of dental services in Wales, 13 concerning services in Clwyd.

Mr. Jones

I thank the Minister for that reply, but his predecessor may recall that I wrote at least threé years ago to the effect that no dentists were accepting new national health service patients in Denbigh, a town of 10,000 people. The nearest dentist practices were at Ruthin, eight miles away. That position has not changed in three years. What will the Government do about that and is not it the case that the NHS is not safe in Tory hands?

Mr. Richards

I am astonished that the hon. Gentleman could make that remark at the end of his question having heard the Prime Minister's brilliant speech at Bournemouth last week committing his party to the national health service. Furthermore, more dentists now practise in Wales than ever before. There are 811 dental practitioners, representing an increase of more than 34 per cent. since 1979. There are 109 dentists in Clwyd, representing an increase of 56 per cent. since 1979. If any of the hon. Gentleman's constituents are having difficulty receiving dental treatment on the NHS, he should take the matter to the family health services authority. Having been a member of the FHSA until recently, he should have known that.

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