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Dentistry: Staffordshire

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the adequacy of NHS dentistry provision in (a) Tamworth and (b) Staffordshire. (282487)

The numbers of courses of treatments (CoTs) and units of dental activity (UDAs) performed by national health service dentists, in England, are available in table C6 of annex 3 of the ‘NHS Dental Statistics for England: Quarter 3, 31 December 2008’ report. Information is available for 2006-07 and quarterly since 2007-08.

Information on the number of patients seen in the most recent 24-month period is available in table D3 of annex 3 of the ‘NHS Dental Statistics for England, Quarter 3, 31 December 2008’ report. Information is provided at quarterly intervals from 31 March 2006 to 31 December 2008.

This report, published on 21 May 2009, has already been placed in the Library and is also available on the Information Centre for health and social care website at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalstats0809q3

Information for the first three quarters of 2008-09 remain provisional as they are revised in each subsequent report to account for treatments reported too late for inclusion in the previous quarterly report. In the end of year report, published in the August following the end of the financial year, all quarterly activity data are revised for a final time.

Further information on CoTs and UDAs is contained in the above report.

The numbers of dentists with NHS activity during the years ending 31 March 2007 and 2008 are available in table G1 of annex 3 of the ‘NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2007/08’ report. This report, published on 21 August 2008, has already been placed in the Library and is also available on the Information Centre for health and social care website at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dental0708

Following a recent consultation exercise, this measure is based on a revised methodology and therefore supersedes previously published workforce figures relating to the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006. It is not comparable to the information collected under the old contractual arrangements. This revised methodology counted the number of dental performers with NHS activity recorded via FP17 claim forms in each year ending 31 March.

Workforce figures relate to headcounts and do not differentiate between full-time and part-time dentists, nor do they account for the fact that some dentists may do more NHS work than others.

Information in both reports is provided by primary care trust (PCT) and strategic health authority (SHA) but is not available by constituency. They are based on the PCT boundaries which came into effect on 1 October 2006.

All 10 SHAs have set themselves the aim of providing access to NHS dentistry for all who seek it by March 2011 at the latest.

We are supporting PCTs to meet this aim with extra resources—an 11 per cent. uplift in our dental funding allocations for 2008-09, and a further 8.5 per cent. uplift in total funds for 2009-10, which takes the total available for dental allocations to £2,257 million (net of patient charge income).

We have also set up an expanded national dental access programme, headed by Dr. Mike Warburton, an experienced clinician and manager, to support managers and clinicians to rapidly expand services where needed.

The report of the Independent Review of Dentistry in England, ‘NHS Dental Services in England’, published on 22 June 2009, recommends a series of further actions to support access and quality. A copy has already been placed in the Library. Piloting of the recommendations will begin from this autumn.