§ Mr. Nigel Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he intends to take to deal with shortages of NHS dentists in Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement on NHS dentistry in Gloucestershire. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
We have provided new investment totalling £90 million to national health service dentistry over the last year. £59 million will support access, and strategic health authorities (SHAs) have been advised of their shares and are working with their primary care trusts (PCTs), including those in Gloucestershire, to address access issues. £30 million is to support information technology and the balance of £1 million will support organisational development locally.
In Gloucestershire, the existing dental access centres offer emergency and routine dental treatment—this is prioritised according to patients' needs and the demands placed on the service.
All the PCTs in Gloucestershire have been invited by Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire SHA to submit proposals to improve access to dental care, funded through the SHA's £2 million share of the access funding. They are also exploring the possibility of establishing an outreach-teaching pilot for dental and dental therapy students with Bristol University.
West Gloucestershire PCT is one of the 16 PCTs in England with which the shadow NHS dentistry support team is working. The support team has made several visits to Gloucestershire towards the end of 2003, and an action plan to establish new dental practices in Cinderford, in the Forest of Dean, and Gloucester City will be agreed by the end of April 2004. Additionally, work is under way to explore the potential for overseas recruitment in Gloucestershire.
Cheltenham and Tewkesbury and Cotswold and Vale PCTs are taking similar action, and are inviting all dental practices to participate and submit proposals for use of the extra resources available in 2004–05.
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
Over the past two years, Chorley and South Ribble Primary Care Trust (PCT) has invested an additional £90,000 in capital development and equipment for dental practices in1672W return for a specific undertaking from the relevant practices to increase national health service registrations. Additionally, the PCT has increased the number of people working in personal dental services in the area and invested additional capital funding to enable the existing community dental service premises to provide an additional dental surgery. The PCT is currently developing a dental action plan which will further promote NHS dentistry in Chorley and South Ribble.
Nationally, we have provided new investment totalling £90 million to NHS dentistry over the last year. £59 million will support access, and strategic health authorities have been advised of their shares and are working with their PCTs, including Chorley and South Ribble, to address access issues. £30 million is to support information technology and the balance of £1 million will support organisational development locally.
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
We have been undertaking the first dental workforce review since 1987, in which stakeholders, including representatives of strategic health authorities, dental schools, and the British Dental Association participated and gave their views. We will be publishing the report shortly. We are also currently reviewing the number of undergraduate places in dentistry in the context of the current Government Spending Review.