§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations he has received in support of changes to the Dentists Act 1984 to allow the statutory registration of dental nurses; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many dental nurses currently employed by the National Health Service have passed the National Certificate examination awarded by the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses; 
(3) what plans he has to review the operation of the Dentists Act 1984. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The General Dental Council has proposed that it should set up a statutory register of dental nurses, entry to which would be dependent upon the satisfactory completion of an approved training programme. We support this proposal and, in due course, will consider if measures to strengthen the existing regulatory systems of the health care professions, which we plan to include in the forthcoming National Health Service Bill, could be used to make the necessary amendments to the Dentists Act 1984. Information is not held centrally upon numbers of dental nurses, but each year some 2,000 candidates pass the examinations of the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses.