To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve the provision of NHS dentistry in Herefordshire; and if he will make a statement. 
It is the intention of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill to better match the provision of primary dental services with local oral health needs through local commissioning of the service. It is our intention that funding for primary dental services will be allocated direct to primary care trusts (PCTs), so that they will be in a position to secure primary dental services for their population.Herefordshire PCI will receive a cash increase of more than 30 per cent., over the period 2003 to 2006. The Government has already invested over £2 million in the Herefordshire dental access centre, which operates from six sites throughout the county.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 22 May 2003, Official Report, column 966–67W, on dentistry, how many residents within (a) Portsmouth, (b) Fareham and Gosport and (c) Southampton City primary care trusts have been unable to register with an NHS dentist in the last year; and what assessment he has made of the likely timescale for all residents within the Portsmouth PCT area having access to an NHS dentist. 
This information is not held centrally. Information is collected on the number of registrations in each primary care trust (PCT) area and on the number of calls to NHS Direct which meet the locally set distance standards.
53 per cent. of adults and 66 per cent. of children in Portsmouth PCT were registered with a national health service dentist at 28 February 2003.
32 per cent. of adults and 56 per cent. of children in Fareham and Gosport PCT were registered with a NHS dentist at 28 February 2003.
Not all patients seek routine access to NHS dental care. Some patients prefer to be seen on an unregistered basis under the occasional treatment arrangements or in a dental access centre.There is a personal dental services pilot in Southampton City PCT incorporating a dental access centre. It treated 9,980 patients in the year ending March 2003. There is also a personal dental service pilot in Fareham and Gosport PCT, which treated 2,156 patients in the year ending March 2003.The latest information available from NHS Direct suggest most callers in the three PCT areas are being put in touch with a dentist offering NHS treatment within local distance standards.The Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill, currently before Parliament, proposes local commissioning of primary dental services. It is anticipated that, through local commissioning, PCTs would be better placed to address local access issues as they arise. The new arrangements are expected to come into effect in 2005. It is also the intention of the Bill to make NHS dentistry a more attractive option to general dental practitioners by providing them with a more predictable level of income, allowing them to work differently and incorporating them into the NHS family.47 per cent. of adults and 60 per cent. of children in Southampton City PCT were registered with a NHS dentist at 28 February 2003.