HC Deb 11 March 2004 vol 418 c1691W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received regarding NHS dentists who only accept NHS registrations of children if their parents register privately; and if he will make a statement. [154435]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Information is not collected on the number of dentists accepting only certain categories of patients. However, very few dental practices have only children registered as national health service patients.

Dentists working in the general dental service are self-employed independent contractors providing dental services. Under current arrangements dentists can practice wherever they like, as there are no restrictions. They are free to accept as many or as few NHS patients as they wish and can alter their NHS commitment without reference to the primary care trust (PCT). They can quite legally accept only certain categories of patients (for example, children).

Under the provisions in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, PCTs will assume responsibility for dental services in this area. With these new responsibilities will go the financial resources currently held centrally, which by 2005–06 are expected to total nearly £1.5 billion. The new arrangements will give the NHS greater control locally enabling it to match services to local need. They will underpin a modernised, high-quality primary dental service provided through new contracts between PCTs and dental practices and properly integrated with the rest of the NHS.

Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to encourage more applicants for dentistry degrees. [157697]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Dentistry is already a popular choice for A-level students, with nearly two applications received for every place available in dental schools. In 2002, the NHS Careers service was extended to provide information to the public on careers in dentistry and, earlier this year, we published a new NHS Careers brochure, "Dental Care in the NHS", which has been distributed to schools, further education colleges, youth employment advisers and other agencies working with young people. Copies will be placed in the Library.

Back to