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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to increase the number of qualified community matrons in Bedfordshire; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There are plans in place that by the end of 2007 there will be 3,000 community matrons in post in England. Strategic health authorities are monitoring primary care trusts (PCTs) to ensure that they are on target to achieve this.
PCTs in partnership with local stakeholders, have the responsibility to ensure that national health service establishments are adequately staffed to deliver high quality and sustainable services as well as ensuring the safety of those people under their care.
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures the Government are taking to enhance the skills and training of community matrons in Bedfordshire; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
An outline of the responsibilities of community matrons was provided in the document, Supporting People with Long-Term Conditionsliberating the talents of nurses who care for people with long term conditions", which was published in February last year. Since then the Department has issued a competency framework to help employers and
16 Feb 2006 : Column 2298W
workforce planners develop education programmes, and community matrons themselves understand what additional knowledge and skills they need for the work. The Department will soon publish an education framework so that education providers can develop local programmes and commissioners specify contracts appropriately.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed discharges there were in acute hospitals serving the Cambridgeshire area in the last 12 months; and how many acute hospital bed nights these represented. 
|Papworth Hospital NHS Trust||Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust||Cambridge Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||Hinchingbrooke Health Care|
|Month||Delayed transfers of care||Number of days delayed||Delayed transfers of care||Number of days delayed||Delayed transfers of care||Number of days delayed||Delayed transfers of care number of days delayed|
It is not possible to ascertain whether an individual private dentist was trained using national health service funding. Nor is it possible to ascertain whether individual private dentists who were trained using NHS funding but subsequently declined to treat NHS patients are continuing to practice.
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 13 February 2006]: Since 200304, the Department has invested an additional £250 million in national health service dentistry and supported the NHS in recruiting the equivalent of an extra 1,459 dentists to improve patient access. The Government are also funding an additional 170 training places per year from 2005.
From April 2006, the NHS will be implementing major reforms to dentistry to build upon this success. New contracts for dentists will abolish the traditional fee per item remuneration system and support new ways of working with a greater focus on preventative care. Evidence from personal dental services pilot schemes is that these new ways of working free up significant capacity that dentists can then use in part to see a greater range of patients.
Dentists' current NHS earnings will be protected for at least three years and there will be a five per cent. reduction in the courses of treatment that general dental services practitioners are expected to carry out each year.
From April 2006, primary care trusts (PCTs), including Bolton PCT, will also have devolved responsibility and ring-fenced budgets for commissioning primary dental services. This means that, if a dentist leaves the NHS or reduces their NHS commitment, the resources stay with the PCT to be re-invested in local dental services.
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Ms Rosie Winterton: Dental practices in Wirral have played an important role in piloting new ways of working through personal dental services (PDS) arrangements. There has been a major improvement in access to national health service dentistry across Wirral.
The lessons learned in the Wirral and other pilot sites have informed the new arrangements for NHS dentistry being implemented from 1 April 2006. From this date, dentists in pilot PDS schemes are entitled to transfer to substantive PDS agreements under the new regulations.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in the Dental Policy Directorate (a) are and (b) were (i) dentally qualified or practising dentists and (ii) officers of (A) the British Dental Association and (B) the Dental Practitioners' Association. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not held centrally. We estimate the full cost of the community dental services, in which dentists who visit schools are employed, is approximately £100 million per annum.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were registered with an NHS dentist in Essex in each of the last five years; and how many new registrations there were in each year. 
|Break in series1|||||
Ms Rosie Winterton: From April 2006, a new system of patient charges will be introduced, based on the recommendations of a working group comprising of representatives of the dental profession, consumer organisations and other stakeholders. It will be a simpler system with three charging bands for overall courses of treatment, as opposed to the current system of over 400 separate charges for individual items of treatment. The maximum charge for dental treatments will fall from £384 to £189.
The cost to an individual patient for a given course of treatment will in some cases be more than now, and in other cases less. The overall level of charges raised will however, be the same proportion of dental expenditure as has historically been the case.
The working group, on whose recommendations the system is based, expressed a concern that the current system, based on over 400 charges ranging up to £384, may deter some people from seeking treatment because of confusion as to what that might have to pay. Part of their reason for recommending a simple, three-band system was to prevent this confusion in future.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Most general dental practitioners are self employed contractors working in general dental services (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS). The table shows the numbers of GDS and PDS dentists in England and Leicestershire County as at 30 September each year. It is not possible to exclude orthodontists from these figures, as they are not employed under separate GDS and PDS contracts.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact of the new dental contract on practices where children are treated under the NHS if their parents pay for their treatment. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 9 February 2006]: Under The National Health Service (General Dental Services Contracts) Regulations 2005 and The National Health Service (Personal Dental Services Agreements) Regulations 2005, dentists will no longer be able to accept children as NHS patients only on condition that their parent or parents agree to private treatment.
|Eastern Leicester PCT|
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department estimates the changes to NHS dentistry will save (a) Eastern Leicester Primary Care Trust and (b) the NHS over the next five years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The national health service dental reforms being implemented from April 2006 are not designed to release financial savings. On the contrary, the Department has given a commitment that, for at least the next three years, primary care trusts (PCTs) will be expected to maintain at least the current level of NHS investment in primary dental care services. The reforms give greater flexibility to PCTs to commission and develop dental services in ways that best meet the needs of their local population.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The General Dental Council has agreed that appropriately qualified clinical dental technicians should be registered and allowed to see edentulous patients, without prior review by a dentist, for the purpose of supplying and maintaining complete dentures. The register will be opened later this year.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many dentists served (a) Yorkshire Wolds and Coast Primary Care Trust and (b) East Yorkshire Primary Care Trust in each of the last five years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Data on the number of dentists working purely in private practice is not held centrally. The numbers of national health service dentists with a general dental services (GDS) contract or personal dental services (PDS) contract for the specified primary care trusts (PCTs) are provided in the following table.
East Yorkshire PCT
|Yorkshire Wolds and Coast PCT|
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