HC Deb 07 January 2004 vol 416 cc391-2W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the reasons for the change in the number of(a) adults and (b) children registered with a dentist in the last three years. [142061]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Adult registrations in the general dental service fell by 160,000 in the three years between September 2000 and September 2003 from 16.81 million to 16.65 million, a fall of 1.0 per cent. Children's registrations fell by 170,000 from 6.84 million to 6.67 million, a fall of 2.5 per cent

During the same period, there has been an increase in National Health Service dental services provided by the personal dental services; the number of patients increased by 340,000 in the three years between 1999–2000 and 2002–03

Some of the drop in registration numbers is due to improved procedures at the Dental Practice Board in removing duplicate patient records

General population figures are not yet available for this period on a consistent basis that is based on the 2001 Census. However it is estimated that between 2001 and 2002 the adult population in England rose by 0.5 per cent. with the children's population falling by 0.4 per cent

We recognise that dentists in some areas have reduced their NHS commitment and there has been considerable dissatisfaction since 1992 with remuneration system which is now seen as a disincentive to provide NHS dental care. Proposals in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 will underpin a modernised, high-quality primary dental service provided through contracts between primary care trusts and dental practices and properly integrated with the rest of the NHS providing better access to services and an improved patient experience. With these new responsilbilities will go the £1.2 billion resources currently held centrally.