HL Deb 18 February 1982 vol 427 cc733-5WA

For the National Health Service General Dental Services in England,

1. (1) what was the total cost in each of the years 1975–76 to 1980–81 and what is the estimated cost for 1981–82 and 1982–83;
2. (2) how much was raised through patients' contributions in each of the years 1975–76 to 1980–81 and what is the estimated yield from contributions in 1981–82 and in 1982–83 under the new charging proposals announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 2nd December 1981;
3. (3) what proportion of the cost of General Dental Services is being covered from these contributions;
4. (4) how much they estimate would be required to be raised through additional patient contributions in 1982–83 over the amount in 1981–82 in order to cover anticipated pay and price increases under the Chancellor's propsals and what is the further amount required to be raised through patients' contributions in 1982–83 beyond what is required to cover pay and price increases;
5. (5) for patients liable to pay National Health Service charges and not exempt on grounds of low income, what proportion of the cost of dental services was met from contributions in each of the years 1975–76 to 1980–81 and what is the estimated proportion in 1981–82 and 1982–83;
6. (6) what would be the present level of dental charges if those charges in operation when the present Government took office had risen in line with retail prices generally.

The following table provides the information requested in parts (1) to (3) of the noble Lord's Question:

 Year Total cost of General Dental Service (England)—gross Patients' Charges, net of remissions and refunds Proportion of cost of General Dental Service covered by patients charges percentage £ million £ million 1975–76 200.8 31.9 15.9 1976–77 221.2 39.3 17.8 1977–78 229.9 51.2 22.3 1978–79 279.1 55.4 19.8 1979–80 336.4 69.6 20.7 1980–81 419.1 92.4 22.0 1981–82 estimated 491.6 117.6 23.9 1982–83 estimated 529.1 151.0 28.5

4. It is estimated that net income from charges will increase by some £33 million between 1981–82 and 1982–83; £27 million of this is an intended increase in real terms.

5. The information requested is not readily available and could only be produced for past years with disproportionate cost and effort. The noble Lord will be aware that low income is only one of the grounds on which exemption or remission of charges is available and forecasts for the current and future years do not take account of the individual elements of exemption or remission.

6. The charges in force when the present Government took office were introduced on 1st April 1977. The present level of charges, had they moved in line with the Retail Price Index, would be as shown in the table below:

 Charge with effect from 1st April 1977 1977 charges revalued to December 1981 Maximum charge for routine treatment £5.00 £8.56 Special treatment (crowns, inlays etc.) charge per tooth £10.00 £17.13 Maximum charges for dentures £30.00 £51.38 Overall maximum charge for a course of treatment £30.00 £51.38