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Ms Rosie Winterton: Dental access centres (DACs) are managed by primary care trusts (PCTs). There are not separate expenditure lines for DACs within PCT accounts and there has been no single funding stream. DACs have instead been funded through a variety of mechanisms as part of the non-discretionary general dental services and PCT-led personal dental service pilots. A separate breakdown of DAC expenditure and allocations would be available only at disproportionate cost.
For this and future years, PCTs will receive allocations, totalling around £1.7 billion for 2006-07, which include funding for the primary care dentistry they commission, including DACs. There is no funding stream or allocation specifically for DACs as it is now up to PCTs how they provide for the dental needs of their population.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The main element of national health service dental services is the primary dental care services provided by dentists working within the general dental service, or personal dental service. From 1 April 2006 all primary dental care services are managed locally, and the Department has allocated the sums shown in the table to primary care trusts (PCTs) in the area of the proposed North West strategic health authority (SHA) to support primary dental care in 2006-07. As well as the net primary dental service resource allocations awarded to PCTs, the table indicates the gross budget and associated patient charge income that might be expected to be available to each PCT.
PCTs decide locally what proportion of their general NHS resource allocation should be awarded to hospital and community dental services, or whether any additional funding should be directed to primary dental care services.
|Primary dental service allocations, North West SHA, 2006-07|
|PCT||Gross primary dental service budget||Expected patient dental charge income||Net primary dental service allocation( 1)|
|(1) Rounded to nearest £000|
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of dentists who have signed the new contract is not available centrally. We do however have some provisional information that covers contracts. A contract may be for more that one dentist so cannot be broken down further to individual dentist level.
|Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA|
| Source: Department of Health|
Ms Rosie Winterton: It is estimated that 61 per cent. of children and 47 per cent. of adults in the Northamptonshire Heartlands primary care trust area are registered with a national health service dentist. At 31 March 2006, 79,010 patients had been seen by a dentist in the last 15 months.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Any company wishing to market dental local anaesthetics in the United Kingdom must first obtain marketing authorisations from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). These are granted only if the products meet the required standards of quality, safety and efficacy, and the MHRA cannot predict whether a marketing authorisation will be granted until assessment of all relevant data is complete. Information on current applications is confidential. The MHRA have been kept aware of the recent supply difficulties.
Dentsply experienced problems at its manufacturing site in the United States of America, and has had to identify an alternative production facility. There is no reported shortage of dental local anaesthetic from Deproco, which has increased its production to cover the predicted shortfall left by the temporary absence of Dentsply. Dentsply is doing everything possible to return to the market as soon as possible.
The Departments chief dental officer wrote to all dentists in England to inform them of the current supply situation, advising them not to stockpile local anaesthetic. A statement was published on 20 April which is available on the Departments website at: www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/13/39/80/04133980.pdf
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make it her policy to require primary care trusts to find out which dentists in their area are taking on NHS patients, report the information to her Department on a regular basis, and make the information readily available to the public, including a local search facility under the dentists' link of the www.nhs.uk website. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The nhs.uk website is set up to allow users to search for the dentists providing national health service services which are located nearest to the patient's home post code. Wider local searches are also available to find all dentists providing NHS services within a particular primary care trust (PCT) area.
It is for PCTs to decide how most effectively to provide information to the local public about which dentists are currently accepting new patients and to agree local arrangements with NHS Direct and nhs.uk.
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