HC Deb 14 June 2004 vol 422 cc680-1W
Sir Paul Beresford:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what method he proposes using to enable NHS dentists to know for which patients they have responsibility for NHS dental treatment; [177016]

(2) when he proposes publishing the new base contract for NHS dentists with his proposed contract values. [177019]

Ms Rosie Winterton

[holding answer 7 June 2004]: Drawing on the learning from personal dental services pilots and the field site programme being managed by the Modernisation Agency, to ensure a smooth transition to local commissioning, we will be working closely with the British Dental Association and the national health service to develop a simple and robust base contract that all primary care trusts (PCTs) and practices will be able to put in place from 2005. Details of the base contract are still under discussion.

The Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 puts a new duty on all PCTs to provide or commission primary dental services "to the extent it considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements" in its area. This is the same general duty as for other NHS services.

Under transitional arrangements, the new base contract will be made available, but dentists and PCTs who wish to develop this further will be able to do so. The transitional arrangements will provide protection of dentists' gross earnings for three years to enable them to come off the treadmill of item of service, to see their patients at intervals appropriate to their oral health needs and to modernise and adjust their workload.

The current statement of dental remuneration describes the care available on the NHS. We expect a similar range of care to be provided under the new system. As now, the care dentists offer must be necessary to secure oral health and dentists will be expected to provide all proper and necessary treatment which a dentist usually undertakes and which the patient is willing to undergo.

Mr. Burstow:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the timetable is for dentists to move onto the new NHS contract. [174454]

Mr. Hutton:

We are implementing the biggest reform of national health service dentistry since 1948 and we have been consulting widely with the profession and others to get the detail right. We have just completed a consultation on our "Framework Proposals for Primary Care Dental Services in England". We are currently considering all the responses to the consultation, including whether any revision to the original timetable of April 2005 is necessary.

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