HL Deb 05 July 1978 vol 394 cc1100-2

8.13 p.m.

Lord WELLS-PESTELL rose to move, That the draft Ancillary Dental Workers (Amendment) Regulations 1978, laid before the House on 6th June, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. The draft regulations propose an Amendment of the Ancillary Dental Workers Regulations 1968 as amended in 1974, by increasing the fees payable to the General Dental Council by persons in respect of their enrolment as dental hygienists or dental auxiliaries who provide limited treatment under the direction of dentists. The draft has been prepared by the General Dental Council. The Privy Council is of the opinion that the proposed fees are justified by changes in circumstances which have taken place and have given their approval. Before the regulations are made the draft requires the approval of your Lordships' House under Section 41(9) of the Dentists Act 1957.

The changes proposed are to increase at the end of this year the fee for the enrolment from £2 to £4 and the annual fee for the retention of a name on the rolls from £1.50 to £3. The fee for the first enrolment has not been changed since 1968 and that for the retention not since 1974. The fee income helps the General Dental Council meet the increasing administrative costs of maintaining the rolls and in the public interest exercising supervision of training, examinations and standards of practice. Last year the General Dental Council's costs directly related to ancillary dental workers were estimated at £6,400. Next year, even at the low level now proposed, income from these fees is expected to be no more than this figure.

The proposed changes are not excessive. I would point out that these have been fixed by the General Dental Council. They have been approved by the Privy Council and, in those circumstances, I commend the regulations to your Lordships.

Moved, That the draft Ancillary Dental Workers (Amendment) Regulations 1978, laid before the House on 6th June, be approved.—(Lord Wells-Pestell.)


My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, for giving your Lordships details of this draft regulation order. In the twenty-sixth report from the Joint Committe reference was made to this set of draft regulations and your Lordships are not invited in that report to consider any special comment. The noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, did say very clearly that 10 years have passed since these fees have been revised in one case, and four years in the other. With the passage of time, unhappily the state of the pound and the relationship to its purchasing powers has varied so considerably that we feel these increases are justified.


My Lords, on behalf of my dental colleagues I also welcome the regulations moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell. If the order is approved the cost of administration of the dental ancillary workers—I remind him now officially called dental therapists—would be fully covered. However, I should point out that I consider it to be of great importance that the control and administration of dental therapists is kept within the General Dental Council, the central organisation, by a committee of management controlling both registration and examination boards. The Court Report suggested the setting up of two new training schools. If their cost-effectiveness can be proved—and I await the findings of a report due out in three or four months—I feel that dental therapists will have an important role to play in the management of dental health within the community. Like all other dental personnel they must be controlled by the General Dental Council.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Sandys, for his comments and observations, and to the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, who will understand that I shall not comment upon the matters he has raised because I might well be told they are outside these regulations.