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Dental Treatment

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 23 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that dentists in Winchester are refusing to accept patients under the National Health Service; and whether he will take immediate action to deal with this unofficial strike.


asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered correspondence from the Cardiff dentists indicating a refusal to undertake any more dental work under the Health Act; and what action he proposes to take.

I am aware that in several parts of the country some dentists have announced that they propose to accept no more patients under the National Health Service for the present, but I hope that on further reflection wiser counsels will prevail.

Would my right hon. Friend consider using the armed Forces of the Crown to break this strike, as they have been used in other cases? Would he consider asking his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to get the Army Dental Corps to open up surgeries?

Probably the Services dental organisation is already fully occupied. If I can find out that there are idle dentists in the Services, I will have a talk to my right hon. Friend about it.

Can my right hon. Friend tell us when he expects to be able to say that this difficulty has been cleared up? Dentists in Cardiff are rushing to fill their lists to be paid under the old system, and they can afford to go on for a time.

That is why I would not take too much notice of these threats at the present time. We have had the threats before and they have not always been fulfilled.

Would it not be fair to add that a large number of dentists have been overworking ever since the Health Service began, that many of them have worked themselves to a standstill, and that this is one of the few things that are left to them to do?

It is true that many dentists have been working very hard since the scheme began. The whole country is grateful to them. It is also clear that they have been excellently rewarded.