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Dentists' Fees

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will re-open negotiations with the Dental Benefit Council regarding the scale of fees payable to dentists under the National Health Insurance Scheme, having regard to the fact that many members of the profession are not satisfied with the present position and are still refusing to accept dental letters.

No, Sir. The settlement of the dispute about dentists' fees for National Health Insurance work, which I explained in a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Baird) on 3rd December, 1946, provides for retrospective payments to dentists if, in the light of the forthcoming report of the Spens Committee on Dental Remuneration, the present fees are found to have been inadequate. The Joint Advisory Dental Council have not suggested to me that they are in any way dissatisfied with the terms of the settlement, and the fact that the great majority of dental letters issued by approved societies are taken up by dentists is evidence that the settlement has been widely accepted.

What is a member of the public to do when the dentists in his or her locality refuse to accept a letter?

There is, and never was, any compulsion on the dentist to accept a dental letter. All we do is to arrange the terms upon which he will be paid if he accepts it. There was no compulsion under the old Act, and there is none at present, on the dentist to accept a dental letter.