§ Mr. Soames
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dental practices are taking on new NHS patients in(a) the constituency of mid Sussex and (b) west Sussex. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 7 April 2003]The number of general dental service practices recorded on the www.nhs.uk website as taking on new National Health Service patients in the constituencies of mid Sussex and west Sussex at 4 April 2003 is shown in the table.
General Dental Service: Number of dental practices taking new
NHS patients, at 4 April2003
Mid Sussex 1 West Sussex Practices accepting charge exempt adults 2— 52 Practices accepting charge paying adults for NHS treatment 2— 7 Practices accepting children 2— 83 1 180 practices listed 2 Nil return
Some of these practices would provide emergency dental service, occasional NHS treatment to non-registered patients and patients on referral. In addition some other practices may be taking on some NHS patients but do not want this published on the website.
Patients seeking to register with a dentist can access information on the dental practices taking on new patients by contacting NHS Direct, their local primary care trust or by accessing the www.nhs.uk website.
§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the provision of NHS dentistry in Buckinghamshire. 
§ Ms Blears
No recent assessment of the provision of national health service dentistry has been made by the Department. However, the provision of dental services in Buckinghamshire is routinely monitored by primary care trusts (PCTs).
In the forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill, the Government propose to legislate for far-reaching reform of NHS dental services. It is proposed that each 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. This will give PCTs the flexibility to address access issues in their area. Dentists who contract with a PCT will have a secure income in return for making a longer-term commitment to the NHS.