Dental and Ophthalmic Charges

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East 12:00 am, 20th July 1959

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make a further statement regarding the future of dental treatment and ophthalmic charges.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

No, Sir, but I shall, of course, keep under consideration all relevant circumstances, both economic and social, relating to the financing of the Health Service.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

Does the Minister not remember that it was at the beginning of 1956 that the Guillebaud Committee recommended that the dental treatment charges should be the first consideration for removal and that the ophthalmic charges should come second? After all this passage of years, is he not prepared to say that at least some steps have been taken to get rid of the charges?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

As the hon. Member knows, the dental treatment and the glasses charges had a social purpose as well as a financial purpose. Therefore, it is necessary to consider these matters in the context of all these factors.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

In considering relieving the dental charges, will my right hon. and learned Friend ensure that at the same time the dentists are not taken from the school dental service, as happened before?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

As my right hon. Friend knows, one of the relevant social purposes in this context was the shortage of dentists for the school service at the material time.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

Does the Minister's reply mean that he does not accept the Guillebaud Committee's recommendation about the withdrawal of the dental charges?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

The hon. Member has had three years or so to put Questions on the Order Paper relating to the Government's attitude to the Report of the Guillebaud Committee. If he cares to put a Question down, I shall be happy to answer it.