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Dental Caries

Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what current statistical inquiries are in train, to gain a more accurate picture of dental caries among children in particular localities, especially in inner city areas.

It is the responsibility of district health authorities to monitor the dental health of all age groups in the population of their areas and to plan jointly with family practitioner committees the provision of local dental services. Information about local inquiries currently in train is not held centrally.The Department commissioned national surveys of children's dental health in 1973 and 1983, and it is expected that a further survey will be conducted in 1993.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provisions there are in the contract currently being negotiated with the dental profession to adjust capitation payments to the differing workloads which will arise from varying rates of dental caries in particular localities.

Under the proposals for a new contract for general dental practitioners, the initial fee paid to a dentist for treating a child entering capitation will be greater if the child has large numbers of decayed teeth. This will greatly benefit dentists in localities with high incidence of dental caries. There are no proposals to adjust capitation payments to take account of regional variations in work loads.