Dental Treatment (Asylum Seekers)

Health written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

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Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what recent guidance has been issued to regional and local health authorities and trusts regarding dental treatment for asylum seekers;

(2) what recent guidance has been given to (a) regional dental boards and (b) dentists regarding dental treatment for asylum seekers.

Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

The Department issued letters, in February 2000, to all local authorities and health authorities detailing the current position on prescription charges and national health service dental treatment for asylum seekers in February 2000. This explained that any asylum seeker who did not fall into one of the groups entitled to free dental treatment, for example those who are pregnant or aged under 18 (under 19 years if in full time education) would need to complete an HC1 claim form in order to receive a NHS charges certificate (HC2), but that arrangements were under review. From 1 April 2001 the national asylum support service would issue HC2 certificates on behalf of the Department to all the asylum seekers it supports. These arrangements are now in place, and HC2 certificates are issued where appropriate, along with the first support voucher. This has removed the need for separate HC1 claims.

Under current arrangements, health authorities are responsible for the dissemination of this information to dental practitioners.

Essentially, dentists can treat asylum seekers in exactly the same way as all other patients, judging their need to pay charges using the usual criteria.

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