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Volume 893: debated on Monday 16 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of dentists per 10,000 population employed by area health authorities in the North-West; and what were the comparable figures for the South-East and the country generally, respectively, at the latest available date.

Per 10,000 population (a) the numbers of dentists (whole-time equivalents) employed by area health authorities were:

AHAs in the North-West0·451
AHAs in the South-East0·259
In England0·480

b) the numbers of dentists practising in the general dental services were:

AHAs in the North-West2·0
AHAs in the South-East3·1
In England2·4

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to increase the supply of dentists in the employment of area health authorities in the North-West.

It is for the area health authorities, in the light of national and regional policies, to decide what level of staffing they need to carry out their responsibilities in the hospital and community dental services which are the services managed by them. I am considering, with the profession, the introduction of a new clinical structure this year which may help generally with recruitment to the community dental services, that is to say, the services concerned with children and other priority groups. Dentists practising in the general dental services of the NHS are independent contractors with family practitioner committees and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no powers to direct them either to work or not to work in any particular area.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the income in the last three years from rental of NHS health centres by dentists in private practice in each regional health authority and equivalent area.

General dental practitioners occupying dental suites in health centres and paying an economic rent are engaged almost exclusively in providing general dental services under the NHS. Only a few have sought and obtained approval to undertake a small element of private practice, but it is not possible to say what element of the overall rental figures might be attributed to private practice. The latest available figures for total receipts in England for rented accommodation in health centres, which I regret cannot be shown by regions, are: