HC Deb 06 November 2001 vol 374 cc213-5W
Mr. Tony Clarke

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists there were in the Northamptonshire constituencies in(a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2001.[11273]

2001. Ms Blears

The number of general dental service dentists in Northamptonshire health authority is shown in the table at 30 June for the years(a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c)

General dental service: Number of dentists in Northamptonshire health authority at 30 June
Northamptonshire HA All dentists
June 1992 138
June 1997 153
June 2001 167

Data are not available centrally by constituency.

Sandra Gidley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists were taking on new patients on 1 September.[11117]

Ms Blears

There are some 16,000 general dental service dentists in England. Some of these dentists have no patient registrations including specialist dentists such as those with practices limited to orthodontics. 14,000 dentists took on at least one new registration during August 2001.

In addition, there were 400 personal dental service dentists, 100 salaried dentists and 1,300 dentists in the community dental service who may have been taking on some new national health service patients.

Mr. Simmonds

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the provision of dentistry and the number of dentists in(a) Lincolnshire and (b) Boston and Skegness.[11550]

Ms Blears

In September 1999, we gave a commitment that, within two years, everyone would be able to access National Health Service dentistry if, and when, they wanted it via NHS Direct. All health authorities in England now have in place dentistry action plans to ensure that everyone in their local area can access NHS dentistry if they want it, within a reasonable time and distance. These plans identify shortfalls in service provision and ways of tackling user demand.

Action is being taken to improve the situation in Lincolnshire and Boston and Skegness. Lincolnshire is one of the third wave personal dental service pilots. The pilot will see the development of a dental access centre at six sites across the county, including Boston and Skegness, through a combination of new buildings and conversion of existing Community Dental Services. £877,000 capital and £340,000 revenue were allocated to the pilot in 2000–01 with a further £270,000 capital and £91,000 revenue in the current financial year.

In addition, Lincolnshire has received dental care development funding amounting to £95,000 in 2000–01 and £185,000 in 2001–02 for expansion and modernisation of practices in areas of poor access which are already offering significant NHS commitment and are prepared to increase numbers of NHS patients. A further allocation of £407,000 has been made from the dental modernisation fund to modernise premises and upgrade equipment and from the dental practice. £17,000 has been allocated from the dental practice grant to set up quality assurance systems in each dental practice.

Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many salaried dentists are employed(a) by the national health service and (b) by the personal dental service.[11913]

Ms Blears

[holding answer 2 November 2001]: The latest information on the number of salaried dentists employed in the national health service in England is shown in the table for each of the dental services. The figures are on a headcount basis rather than whole-time equivalent.

Personal dental services are one of the ways in which the NHS provides dentistry and may be used both for NHS trust based projects with salaried dentists and for arrangements which are similar to the general dental service, with self employed dentists.

Number of salaried dentists employed in 2000–01
England Number
a) By the NHS (excluding personal dental services)
Hospital dental service1 2.190
Community dental service1 1.340
Salaried GDS dentists2 101
b) By the personal dental services2,3
Dentists in pilots managed by trusts 392
Total4 NHS salaried dentists 4,023
1 Number of dentists at September 2000.
2 Number of dentists at June 2001.
3 Excludes 200 dentists in pilots not managed by trusts where most dentists are self employees of the contract holders.
4 Some dentists work in several services and are counted in each service.

Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the gross fee is paid for(a) an MOD amalgam and (b) a root canal filling on the lower first molar to an independent contractor dentist in the NHS;[11914]

(2) what is the unit cost of provision by the salaried dental service of (a) an MOD amalgam and (b) a root canal filling on the lower first molar, taking into account all management, rental and other overheads.[11915]

Ms Blears

[holding answer 2 November 2001]: The item of service fee currently paid to a dentist providing treatment in the general dental services (GDS) is £17.60 per tooth for an amalgam filling in permanent or retained deciduous teeth for three or more surfaces where the mesio-occlusal and disto-occlusal surfaces are involved. If pin or screw retention is involved there is an additional fee of £5.40. The fee for the root filling of each root canal of a permanent tooth per first molar tooth is £68.65.

The total fees claimed by general dental practitioners are intended to cover all costs including management, rental and other overheads. Under the personal dental service's arrangements, treatments are not remunerated on an item of service basis but are included as part of the overall contractual arrangements. We have no reason to expect that in the salaried services similar item of service treatments would differ significantly in cost from the GDS, taking into account the range of patients treated.

Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people, and what proportion of the population, had no access to an NHS dentist in May of each year since 1997.[11916]

Ms Blears

[holding answer 2 November 2001]: About 24 million people, almost half of the population, are registered with a general dental services (GDS) dentist in England at any one time. This has been broadly constant over the last three years (figures before this time are not comparable because of changes to the registration period). Registration figures represent people who have been seen by a GDS dentist within the past 15 months. Excluded from these figures are people who have chosen not to attend their dentist in the latest 15 months as well as people who have been treated within the GDS but are not registered and those who have used other NHS dental services, such as the community dental services.

Information on the number of people who sought national health service dentistry unsuccessfully in each year since 1997 is not available.

Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what date he expects to be able to provide universal access to an NHS dentist.[11917]

Ms Blears

[holding answer 2 November 2001]: In September 1999, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister pledged that within two years, everyone would be able to access national health service dentistry by phoning NHS Direct.

All callers to NHS Direct should now be able to gain access to NHS dentistry either to receive emergency dental treatment, urgent treatment to relieve pain or have an oral examination followed by a course of treatment for identified dental problems.

For each of these kinds of treatment, health authorities have set local standards for times and distances, for both rural and urban locations, for dentistry to be available for their populations.

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