Dental Services (Estimates Committee's Reports)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1963.

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Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West 12:00 am, 12th July 1963

Yes, I know; but during the period which I took—from the lowest point to 1962—there was, in fact, a fairly rapid increase early in the decade and again at the end of the decade. Perhaps it is a warning to both of us against league tables.

It is important, however, to remember—this is one of the big things which has come out of this debate—that we must not look just at dental manpower in considering the local authority dental service. We have to look to an increase in supportive and ancillary manpower of all kinds. I was very grateful to the Estimates Committee for the very emphatic support which it gave to the development of a number of different forms of ancillary support which could, and should, be valuable in the local authority dental service. The Committee referred to dental hygienists. In the last year or two, there has been a sharp increase in the training facilities available for dental hygienists. It is to be hoped that local authorities will find growing opportunities for employing them in their services.

As regards dental auxiliaries, this development, as the House knows, is still in an experimental stage; but I hope that I am not presuming if I say, even in advance of the report to the General Dental Council, that the results of the experiment appear to me impressive and that the output of 60 trained dental auxiliaries per annum from the New Cross school is something which could be a very valuable reinforcement of the local authority dental services.

It is evident from what I have said that calculations of a requirement of 2,600 dentists in the local authority dental services, on the basis of it being the function of the local authority dental services to provide a comprehensive service of inspection and treatment for all school children—