HC Deb 24 February 1998 vol 307 c157
2. Mr. Paterson

If he will make a statement on dental services in Shropshire. [29314]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. Alan Milburn)

Shropshire is an area where we have inherited local difficulties of access to national health service dentistry. Shropshire health authority has submitted eight proposals under the investing in dentistry scheme. One has already been approved at a cost of £45,000.

Mr. Paterson

NHS dentistry is not available to any new patients in Oswestry and, although the new schemes are welcome, they are many miles away. What action will the Minister take this afternoon for the 10,000 to 20,000 people who are estimated by the local heath authority to be on lists for NHS dentistry treatment?

Mr. Milburn

The one thing that I did not bring with me today was my cheque book. I assure the hon. Gentleman that all the proposals received from his area are being considered seriously. In some ways, he wins the award for bare-faced cheek, as it was his Government who ran down NHS dentistry in the first place, not just in Shropshire but throughout the country. This Government will build it up again.