HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc57-9W
125. Mr. Baird

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he is now in a position to make any statement about the dispute as to the terms on which dentists should undertake National Health Insurance work.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Following the discussion initiated by my hon. Friend on the Adjournment of the House on 25th October, there have been further talks between the Government and the leaders of the dental profession, and I am happy to be able to announce that a settlement has been reached on which the Joint Advisory Dental Council are recommending the profession to resume the dental benefit service forthwith. The terms of settlement which the Government, the leaders of the profession and representatives of the approved societies have mutually agreed are fair to all parties concerned are as follows.

As soon as the Report of the Spens Committee on dental remuneration is available there will be negotiations between the Government and the dental organisations to agree in the light of the report two things: the method and order of remuneration of dentists in the National Health Service, and an appropriate scale of fees for work done under the present limited dental benefit scheme. If the scale of fees so arrived at shows that the present one was inadequate to meet the just claims of the profession; the Government will seek Parliamentary authority for making payments retrospectively to dentists calculated to meet the difference between the amounts due to them for work paid for on the present scale from a current date and what they would have received had that work been done on the scale to be agreed.

Pending the completion of these negotiations the scale of fees introduced by the Government on 30th September will continue in force and will determine the payments to be made by insured persons entitled to dental benefit and by their approved societies. The necessary information is being sent immediately to members, of the dental organisations and to approved societies, and an early meeting of the Dental Benefit Council has been called at which any details left outstanding can be jointly settled.

I should like to pay a tribute to the way in which the leaders both of the profession and the approved societies have met the Government in seeking a way out of this unfortunate dispute. The settlement carries with it the assurance to the dentist that from now onwards he will receive for his National Health Insurance work whatever additional remuneration may be found by impartial inquiry to be justified and the Government hope it will be a happy augury for the future success of the arrangements for dental treatment under the National Health Service.