§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS registered dentists there were in the Buckinghamshire Health Authority in 2002; 
(2) how many dental practices in the Buckingham constituency (a) closed and (b) opened in 2002. 
§ Ms Blears
The numbers of national health service dentists in Buckinghamshire health authority in the general dental service (CDS), personal dental service (PDS) and salaried service of the GDS at 30 September 2002 are shown in the table. The numbers of dentists for the community and hospital dental services are shown for 30 September 2001.
NHS dental services at 30 September 2002—Buckinghamshire health authority Number of dentists1 General dental service2 291 Personal dental service3 27 Community dental service4 30 Hospital dental service4 10 Salaried service of the GDS 4 1 Dentists are counted in each dental service in which they practice apart from PDS dentists working in the GDS who are counted in the GDS only. 2 GDS cover principals on the health authority list, assistants and vocational dental practitioners. 3 The PDS covers dentists working in the PDS who are not also working in the GDS. 4 Rounded to the nearest 10 at 30 September 2001.
These figures are on a headcount basis rather than whole time equivalent (wte) and take no account of part-time working.
There were no dental practices closed in 2002, nor were any new practices opened during 2002.
§ Mr. Liddell-Grainger
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what further help he will give to primary care trusts in rural areas to recruit NHS dentists. 
§ Mr. Lammy
The Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, introduced to the House on 12 March, proposes that each primary care trust (PCT) be given a duty to provide or secure the provision of primary dental services in its area to the extent that it considers reasonable to do so and be given the financial resources to do this. These financial resources are currently managed centrally. It is the intention of the Bill that local commissioning will give PCTs levers that they do not currently have to influence the provision of oral health services in their areas, rural or otherwise.
The Bill also puts in place a framework by which it will be possible to pay dentists differently. Under the proposed arrangements, primary care dentists would be able to spend more time with their patients and focus on prevention and health promotion as well as treatment. It is anticipated that this will make national health service dentistry a more attractive option for dentists and that they will be encouraged to remain within the NHS or increase their NHS commitment.