HC Deb 22 July 1983 vol 46 cc271-2W
Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether a decision has been reached on the recent report of the dental manpower study group.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Health Ministers have agreed with and accept the main recommendations of the Department's dental manpower study group report. Copies are now available in the Vote Office. The study group recommend that there should be a 40 per cent. growth in the estimated number of United Kingdom dentists from the present figure of around 22,500 to some 32,000 by the year 2020. This is a reduction of 3,000 on the previous forecast for 2020. The study group recommended regular reviews of dental manpower to allow for any readjustment that may be necessary. The new target figure for 2020 means that there should now be a 10 per cent. reduction in dental school intake.

Any failure to make this reduction now could mean that some of the most intelligent young people would be educated for a career that they would not be able to pursue. This would be a tragic waste for the individuals concerned and for society, and we must take steps to avoid it now. The detailed implications for individual dental schools will be matters for the University Grants Committee, in consultation with interested parties. The first of the new regular reviews of dental manpower will be undertaken in 1984.