To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what procedures are currently adopted if a dentist's prescribing patterns are considered to be excessively high.
Responsibility for the monitoring of prescribing in general practice rests with the Dental Estimates Board. If the board considers a dentist's prescribing to be substantially out of line with that of his colleagues, it carries out an investigation. This may include arranging for an examination of the dentist's patients by the Department's dental reference service. If evidence of abuse is found, or the dentist is considered to be in breach of his terms of service, the board may initiate disciplinary action in accordance with the appropriate regulations; this was done in 399 cases in 1986–87.