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Dental Services

Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate her Department has made of the number of people requiring access to NHS dentistry to whom it is unavailable. (125551)

[holding answer 6 March 2007]: The Department estimates that there are some two million people in England who would like to access national health service dental services but are unable to do so. This estimate predates the dental reforms introduced in April 2006.

The reforms have for the first time give primary care trusts (PCTs) direct control of resources for commissioning local dental services. PCTS are also now responsible for assessing local needs and developing services to reflect these needs. In Cumbria, for example, the local NHS has undertaken considerable work to assess oral health needs and reflect these in its commissioning programme, which has recently included establishing a new practice for some 2,500 NHS patients in Windermere.