Skip to main content

Dentistry

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of children eligible for orthodontic treatment (i) prior to 1 April and (ii) following the introduction of an assessment based on an index of treatment need, broken down by primary care trust. (78954)

Contractors only provide orthodontic treatment to a person who is assessed as having a treatment need in grade four or five of the dental health component of the index of orthodontic treatment need (IOTN) or grade three of the dental health component of that index with an aesthetic component of six or above. This is unless the contractor is of the opinion that orthodontic treatment should be provided to a person who does not have such a treatment need by virtue of the exceptional circumstances of the dental and oral condition of the person concerned.

Research has shown that IOTN grades four and five constitute about 30 per cent., of the 12 year old child population, the age most suitable for treatment. Although many orthodontic practitioners based their treatment planning on IOTN, all grades could be treated in the general dental services. It should also be noted that children do not necessarily receive orthodontic treatment within the primary care trust which they reside.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether her Department treats referrals to hospital-based orthodontists from dentists as consultant to consultant referrals; and if she will make a statement; (76953)

(2) whether her Department collects statistics on referrals to hospital-based orthodontists by dentists; and if she will make a statement.

Where the referral is from a general dental practitioner it is recorded in the same way as a referral from a general medical practitioner. If the referral is from a primary care dentist other than a general dental practitioner, it is recorded as a consultant to consultant referral.

The table shows the number of referral requests for first out-patient appointments in orthodontics between 2002-03 and 2005-06. The information collected is split by written referrals by general practitioners (GPs) and other. GP referrals include referrals by general dental practitioners and other referrals include consultant to consultant referrals and referrals to optometrists.

Number of referral requests for first out-patient appointments

Quarter

GP written

Other

Percentage GP written

2005-06

3

17,894

3,607

83.2

2

18,359

4,188

81.4

1

19,752

4,631

81.0

2004-05

4

17,798

4,293

80.6

3

19,614

4,371

81.8

2

18,451

4,825

79.3

1

19,365

4,516

81.1

2003-04

4

20,485

4,441

82.2

3

19,197

4,318

81.6

2

18,451

4,825

79.3

1

19,365

4,516

81.1

2002-03

4

19,336

5,148

79.0

3

19,225

4,829

79.9

2

19,704

4,496

81.4

1

19,658

4,351

81.9

Total

286,654

67,355

81.0

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost is of resolving new dental service contracts and agreements which have been signed in dispute; and how many man-hours she estimates will be spent on resolving the issues. (77049)

Primary care trusts are responsible for local resolution of contract and pre-contract disputes for all national health service services that they commission. From April 2006, primary care dentistry has become one of these locally commissioned services. Information is not collected centrally on the costs or the time involved in the local resolution of disputes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists in Wantage constituency have stopped taking new NHS patients since 1 April. (77118)

Data on the number of dentists who rejected the new contract on or since 1 April and who have therefore ceased to treat national health service patients is not available centrally.

Management information is held centrally on the number of contracts rejected or accepted by primary care trusts (PCTs). A contract may be for either a practice or an individual dentist so the information is not a guide to the number of dentists who accepted or rejected the contract. As of April, 35 contracts were agreed and three rejected in the South West Oxfordshire PCT area while 23 contracts were signed and 13 rejected in the Swindon PCT area. The signed contracts represent 98.1 per cent. and 93.1 per cent. of dental services respectively. This reflects that fact that many of those who rejected new contracts were dentists who treated relatively few NHS patients. PCTs are using the funding associated with the rejected contracts to commission additional services from other dentists.