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Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that a person approved by one office of the Care Standards Commission is treated as being approved by all other offices of the Care Standards Commission. 
Dr. Ladyman: I understand from the Chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that they want to move towards a more streamlined registration process, which removes unnecessary duplication where this does not undermine the functions of registration.
In its "Inspecting for Better Lives" consultation document the CSCI lay out how it will make assessments of whether someone is fit to provide care services transferable between offices of the Commission.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what auditing processes are in place to ensure uniformity of decision making between different offices of the Care Standards Commission with regard to approval of individuals under the provisions of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003. 
I understand from the Chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that they recognise the need to improve consistency. CSCI
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has employed a head of quality whose role is to monitor and improve consistency between different offices and who is developing a quality framework for the Commission.
Ms Rosie Winterton: In 200304, the last year for which figures are available, the Department had losses of 37 pieces of equipment worth £43,602. These were all information technology and telecoms items.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Dentists who work in the national health service are eligible for membership of the NHS superannuation scheme, maternity, paternity and adoption leave payments, long-term sickness payments, commitment payments and support with continuing professional development and clinical audit. We are undertaking the most far reaching reforms of NHS dentistry since 1948, which, through the delegation of the commissioning of dental services to primary care trusts (PCTS), are intended to make working in the NHS more attractive to dentists. The reforms are supported by additional recurring funding of £250 million in 200506an increase of 19.3 per cent. compared to spending in 200304. We have also allocated £59 million in the current financial year to enable hard-pressed PCTs to improve access to NHS dentistry by, for example, funding improvements to practice premises in return for a commitment to register more NHS patients.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish information for (a) dentists and (b) patients on how the new system of dental contracts will work including how much patients will have to pay. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The new contractual arrangements involve the delegation of the commissioning of national health service dental services to primary care trusts with replacement of the item-for-service system of remuneration for dentists with one based on patients' overall oral health care needs. Because charges to patients relate to item for service, a new method is needed to determine the amounts charged. We have received a report from the NHS dentistry patient charges working group, chaired by Harry Cayton, which we are considering. We are publishing a series of guidance notes on the new arrangements over the period leading up to their implementation.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) principal and (b) assistant dentists there were in (i) England, (ii) each strategic health authority and (iii) each primary care trust who were registering NHS patients in each year since 1997. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of principal and assistant dentists in the general dental service who were recorded as having registered patients is shown in the table for England at September in each of the years 1997 to 2004. Some other assistant dentists who treat registered patients will be excluded because the patients are recorded against the principal dentist.
|GDS principals||GDS assistants||PDS dentists||Total|
Separate information is shown for personal dental service dentists who had registered patients; this excludes dentists who treat patients under arrangements where there are no registrations, for example, in dental access centres. Information by strategic health authority (SHA) and primary care trust (PCT) has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to review the data requirements it receives through the Dental Practice Board, as recommended in the National Audit Office report, Reforming NHS Dentistry: Ensuring Effective Management of Risks. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has reviewed the information requirements for the new contractual arrangements for primary care dentistry. The information requirements will be finalised and published once the discussions about the new contractual arrangements have been completed, and details of the new patient charge arrangements have been confirmed.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps (a) his Department and (b) the General Dental Council have taken to meet the findings in the 2003 Office of Fair Trading report on private dentistry regarding greater clarity of services and charges for patients. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
We are working with the General Dental Council (GDC) to implement the report's recommendations. The GDC has published 'ethical' guidance which requires that dentists give full information on proposed treatment and costs to patients, whether national health service or private. The guidance explicitly states that "non-compliance with these standards will put a dentist's registration at risk". During 2005, we plan to lay an Order to amend the Dentists Act 1984, which, subject to Parliamentary approval, will give the GDC powers to establish a private complaints system. GDC is already making preparatory arrangements for the investigation and resolution of complaints about private dentistry, including complaints about charges.
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Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by the General Dental Service on (a) examinations, (b) scaling and (c) polishing in the last period for which figures are available. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: In 200304, fees paid to General Dental Service dentists for adult examinations were about £151 million. Fees for scaling and polishing, including chronic periodontal work, were about £174 million. For children, routine examinations and scaling are included in the patient capitation payments and so are not separately identifiable.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to introduce more flexibility with routine recall periods for NHS dental patients, as recommended in the National Collaborating Centre for Acute Care October 2004 Report. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Under the present item for service remuneration system a dentist may claim a fee for examining a patient at a minimum interval of six months. With the introduction of the new contractual arrangements, founded upon the delegation of the commissioning of national health service dentistry to primary care trusts, dentists will have wider discretion over recall intervals based on their clinical judgement. However, regulations of which we will be laying before Parliament will require NHS dentists to provide services in accordance with guidance issued by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, who were commissioned by the National Collaborating Centre for Acute Care October 2004 to undertake the dental study.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many overseas dentists recruited under the Returning to Practice scheme are (a) working for the NHS and (b) working privately; 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Returning to Practice scheme is aimed at United Kingdom dentists from the domestic market who, usually, have taken a career break and want to return to national health service work. The scheme is not aimed at overseas dentists.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department's revised code of practice for the International Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals, published on 8 December 2004, promotes high standards of practice in the international recruitment and employment of all healthcare professionals, including dentists.
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