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Dental Service

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 28 February 1952

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asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware that the School Dental Service is understaffed; what is the extent of understaffing in Northamptonshire; and what action she intends to take on the proposal of the Northamptonshire Education Committee in their recent review of 1952–53 expenditure to omit from their forecast provision for an additional school dentist and dental attendant and for a second mobile dental clinic.

Yes. I understand that the authority have had vacancies for two dental officers and attendants for over two years and have hitherto made provision for them in their estimates. As they were unable to fill the vacancies, they have decided to provide for only one additional dentist and attendant in their estimates for the next financial year. I see no reason to question this decision provided that the authority will be prepared to revise their estimates if, as a result of the changes now proposed in the General Dental Service, it becomes easier to recruit additional school dental officers. I understand that the abandonment of the proposal to provide an additional mobile clinic will not curtail the service available to the area concerned.


asked the Minister of Education if she will refuse to approve the education estimates of those local authorities who reduce the amount to be spent on the dental services.

I do not approve the estimates of local education authorities. I said, however, in Circular 242 that every effort should be made to strengthen the school dental service, and I am not prepared to accept any proposal that has the contrary effect.

asked the Minister of Education the required establishment of school dentists in the county of Kent in the month of October, 1951; and how many dentists in fact were actually employed.

I understand that at the date in question the Kent local education authority aimed at having the equivalent of 50 full-time school dentists. They were in fact employing 31 full-time and five part-time dentists, the equivalent of about 32 full-time officers.