To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) how many dentists ceased providing NHS dental services in each of the last three years (a) in England and (b) within Durham and Chester-le-Street primary care trust;
(2) how many NHS patients were registered with a dentist in each of the last three years in (a) England and (b) Durham and Chester-le-Street primary care trust;
(3) how may NHS patients were unable to register with a dentist in each of the last three years in (a) England and (b) Durham and Chester-le-Street primary care trust.
Information is not held on the number of dentists who ceased providing national health service dental services altogether. The Office of Fair Trading report, The private dentistry market in the UK", published in March 2003, estimated that out of 11,000 dental practices nationally, only about 210 are totally private.
The following table shows the number of dental patients registered with a general dental service (GDS) or personal dental service (PDS) dentist in England, and Durham and Chester-le-Street primary care trust area, as at
|England||Durham and Chester-le-Street PCT|
Registrations in the GDS lapse if the patient has not returned to the dentist within 15 months. These figures do not include patients who get dental treatment without registration, for example in dental access centres.
Information is not available on patients who are unable to register with a dentist, but we are undertaking a wide range of initiatives to improve access to NHS dentistry. In the Durham and Chester-le-Street PCT, a local dental access scheme has been developed at a cost of £65,770 from central funds. Under the scheme, 10practices, which were not previously taking on new NHS patients, have been funded to provide an agreed number of new patient contacts. From September 2004, the scheme has delivered 1,000 additional NHS appointments and expects shortly to deliver a further 300 appointments. As a result, between late September and November, all patients seeking a NHS dentist should have been able to access occasional NHS dental treatment and, in addition, some were able to register with a NHS dentist.