HC Deb 29 March 2004 vol 419 cc1216-8W
Mr. Steen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the population had access to an NHS dentist in(a) 1997, (b) 2000 and (c) 2003. [155543]

Ms Rosie Winterton

[holding answer 23 February 2004]: The Adult Dental Health Survey in 1998 showed that 71 per cent. of the population had seen a dentist in the previous year. Table 1 shows the percentage of dentate adults surveyed that last visited the dentist in given periods.

Table 1
Time since last visit to the dentist1 Percentage of dentate adults
Up to 1 year 71
Over 1 year, up to 2 years 7
Over 2 years, up to 5 years 12
Over 5 years, up to 10 years 6
1 Excludes those who have never been to the dentist.

There is no straightforward measure of national health service dental access. However, adult courses of NHS dental treatment have continued to increase; from 24.6 million in 1997, to 25.9 million in 2000, to 26.3 million in 2003.

Adult registrations with a General Dental Service (CDS) dentist fell in September 1997, because of a reduction in the registration period from 24 to 15 months in September 1996, and have been relatively stable since then. Table 2 shows the numbers of registrations and registration rates as a percentage of the population for adults and children at September in the years 1997, 2000 and 2003 for England.

Table 2
Number ( million) Rates (percentage)
Adults 19.38 51.0
Children 7.37 65.2
Total 26.75 54.3
Adults 16.81 43.4
Children 6.85 60.7
Total 23.66 47.3
Adults 16.65 44.0
Children 6.67 60.0
Total 23.32 47.6
1 The registration periods were changed in September 1996, which affected registration numbers from December 1997.

The registration period is currently 15 months, so patients who have not attended a dentist within that period will not be included in the registration figures.

Anyone wishing to find a dentist with whom to register for NHS dental care, or obtain emergency or occasional treatment, should normally be able to do so by calling NHS Direct. In first 10 months of 2003, NHS Direct was able to give 93 per cent. of callers details of a dentist taking new NHS patients in their area and within local distance standards. Corresponding information is not available for the years 1997 and 2000.

Mr. Steen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the NHS budget has been spent on providing dental care in each of the last five years. [155544]

Ms Rosie Winterton

[holding answer 23 February 2004]: The gross national health service spend on the general dental service (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS) and the percentage this represents of total NHS expenditure for 1997–98 to 2002–03 is shown in the table. During this period, gross spend on the GDS and PDS has increased by 15 per cent. in real terms.

Gross NHS general dental expenditure and percentage of NHS gross expenditure
Gross expenditure on general dental service and personal dental services1 (£ million) Gross expenditure on general dental service and personal dental services1,2 as a percentage of total gross NHS expenditure3
1997–98 1,349 3.57
1998–99 1,443 3.61
1999–2000 1,491 3.43
2000–01 1,582 3.31
2001–02 1,674 3.17
2002–03 1,750 3.01
1 Gross expenditure includes income raised through dental charges paid by patients.
2 Expenditure on the community and hospital dental services has not been included as the information is not collected centrally.
3 The expenditure figures used for the comparison are on a cash basis up to and including 1999–2000 and on a resource basis thereafter.

Under proposals set out in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, primary care trusts (PCTs) will assume responsibility for commissioning primary dental care services. With these responsibilities will go the financial resources amounting to some £1.3 billion, which are currently held centrally.

We have guaranteed that dentists working in the GDS will have an automatic right to a contract under the new arrangements and that their gross earnings will be protected over the transition period of three years. During this period, PCTs' newly devolved dentistry allocations will represent a minimum level of spend on NHS which PCTs must maintain.

Mrs. Dean

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many training places for dentists have been available in each of the last 10 years; [162032]

(2) how many places were available in each of the dental schools in each of the last 10 years; [162033]

(3) how many dentists qualified in each of the last 10 years. [162034]

Ms Rosie Winterton

The quota of training places available for dentists in dental schools in England, as shown in table 1, was set after the Dental Workforce Review conducted in 1987. It has not changed since then but, as the information on graduates in table 2 indicates, the number of students accepted fluctuates because dental schools are required to admit all applicants who achieve the 'A' level scores in the offer of admission the school makes.

Table 1: Number of training places available in England
Dental school Number of training places
Birmingham 65
Bristol 50
King's College, London 145
Leeds 55
Liverpool 55
Manchester 60
Newcastle 68
QMW (Barts and The London) 55
Sheffield 47
Total 600

The numbers of dental students who have graduated from these courses over the last 10 years are shown in table 2.

Table 2: Number of graduates 1993–2003
1993–94 541
1994–95 492
1995–96 526
1996–97 535
1997–98 576
1998–99 581
1999–2000 585
2000–01 618
2001–02 591
2002–03 549

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