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

But this figure rests on the assumption that it is the function of the school dental service to provide a comprehensive service of inspection and treatment for all school children. This no longer corresponds with the realities: it does not correspond with the changed sources from which school children are obtaining dental treatment, nor does it answer to the shift in the objectives and centre of gravity of the school dental service.

That service, so far as one can foresee, must always stand ready to provide treatment, and the giving of treatment must always be an appreciable part of the work of those who are employed in it. But its main objects for the future, against the background which I have sketched out, must be two. The first is to ensure complete coverage, that is to say, to ensure that there is no child between those ages who fails to obtain, in one way or another, the dental treatment needed. It must ensure a complete check upon the dental health of every child. It is an indication of the increasing relative importance of this objective in the school dental service that the proportion of inspections to treatments has been growing. In 1953 there were 3 million inspections, or twice as many as the number of treatments given, whereas in 1962 there were 4 million inspections, or three times as many as the number of treatments given.

The second objective which appears clearly to be indicated for the school dental service is the promotion of dental hygiene and dental health education.