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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 9 November 2005


Culture and Audiovisual Council Agenda

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell): The Education, Youth and Culture Council will be held on 14–15 November in Brussels. Culture and Audiovisual issues will be taken on 14 November. As current President, I will chair the Council and Patricia Ferguson MSP, Scottish Executive Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, will represent the UK. Education and Youth issues will be taken on 15 November.

The agenda items for 14 November on which agreement is expected are as follows:

Other items on the agenda are:

Information and updates from the Presidency and the Commission regarding:

Over lunch audiovisual Ministers will have an informal discussion on digital switchover.


National Health Service Dentistry

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton): We are committed to reforming National Health Service dentistry and improving access
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for patients. In the written statement of 16 July 2004, Official Report, cols 89–91WS, the Government announced the twin targets of recruiting 1,000 additional whole time dentists and funding 170 extra dental training places to address access issues. Both targets have now been achieved. Overall, over 1,400 dentists were recruited through a mixture of domestic and international recruitment. This contributed to a net increase of 1,100 dentists 1 in the last year, more than twice the average increase over the previous seven years.

The recruitment drive included (whole time equivalent dentists): 216 from Poland via the central Department of Health recruitment initiative; 297 from local international recruitment; 230 via expansion of the International Qualifying Exam; 88 from domestic returners to practice, supported by the Keeping in Touch scheme; and 622 reported by primary care trusts from local NHS activity to expand capacity in existing dental practices.

Some 189 additional dental students have now started their studies at dental school, 19 more than the original target. This brings the total number of dental undergraduates to 859, reflecting the popularity of dentistry as a career. This 29 per cent. increase is being supported by capital investment of £80 million over the four years from 2005–06, and revenue costs reaching £29 million by 2010–11.

Some 91 of the new dental training places have been allocated to the existing dental schools on a temporary basis while the Higher Education Funding Council for England conducts a bidding exercise to determine the permanent allocation of these places. This exercise will be completed by the end of January 2006.

This Government are committed to NHS dentistry and improving access for patients. The immediate benefits of the recruitment of 1,400 dentists are already clear to patients. The undergraduate expansion will stabilise the supply of dentists in the longer term and by 2010, there will be 850 extra dentistry students in training. These achievements will support the move to local commissioning of dental services from next April and the accompanying changes to contractual arrangements for NHS dentists. These reforms, when taken together with the healthy position on recruitment, will enable primary care trusts to replace capacity much more readily when other dentists leave the local area, the profession or increase their private work. The reforms will also improve the quality of dentists' working lives in the NHS and support improvements in access for NHS patients.
September 199716,815
September 199817,338
September 199917,863
September 200018,241
September 200118,758
September 200218,979
September 200319,295
September 200419,754
September 200520,857

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Identity Cards

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Andy Burnham): Today I have published an extract of an independent review by KPMG
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of the cost methodology and cost assumptions used by the Identity Cards Scheme. KPMG concluded that the costing methodology is robust and appropriate for this stage of development. Copies of the extract will be placed in the House Library together with copies of the Home Office's summary of its work in progress on the areas of the Identity Cards Scheme highlighted by the review.