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6 Jun 2007 : Column 562W—continued

Cost Shunting

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Julia Goldsworthy) of 24 April 2007, Official Report, column 777, on cost shunting, whether she plans to discuss the opportunities afforded by local government reform with her Cabinet colleagues in (a) the Department for Communities and Local Government, (b) the Cabinet Office and (c) other departments. [134990]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department, like all Government Departments with an interest in local government issues, will continue to work together to develop and implement the vision for local government set out in the White Paper “Strong and Prosperous Communities” that was published on 26 October 2006. The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill proposes to implement much of the White Paper. The Bill will enhance local leadership on health and well-being and make it easier for local authorities and national health service bodies to work together in delivering integrated health and social care services to citizens.

Dental Services

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice her Department issues on the recommended period of time between dental check ups. [138895]

Ms Rosie Winterton: All dentists with national health service primary care contracts are required to provide services in accordance with relevant guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), including NICE’S clinical guideline on recall intervals between routine dental examinations. NICE recommends that this recall interval should be determined specifically for each individual patient and should be tailored to meet his or her needs, on the basis of an assessment of disease levels and risk of, or from, dental disease. The shortest recommended interval for a routine
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dental recall for patients is three months. The longest recommended interval is 12 months for patients under 18 years of age and 24 months for adult patients. The clinical guideline indicates that dentists should discuss the recommended recall interval with the patient and review it at the next oral health review.

The Department’s advice to patients, reflected on the Department’s website and in the patient information leaflet “NHS dentistry in England: information for patients”, is that they should follow their dentist's advice on when to go back for regular check ups. The advice indicates that, if a patient's dental health is good, they may only have to go for a check up every two years.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the population in (a) England and (b) Milton Keynes has attended a dental surgery in the last two years. [138896]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on numbers of patients who have received care or treatment from a national health service dentist in the last two years and the percentage of the population this represents is published regularly. The latest available information is for the two years ending 31 December 2006. This information is contained in section F2 of annex 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England Q3:31 December 2006 report which is available in the Library.

This report, published by The Information Centre for health and social care, is also available online at:

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the value is of each unit of dental activity in each primary care trust in England. [139536]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Data collected by the Department centrally does not identify the value of units of dental activity (UDAs) or provide a basis for comparisons of UDA values between primary care trusts (PCTs). PCTs set contract values and service level requirements locally. UDA values will vary because of a number of factors, including differences in treatment patterns and treatment needs in different areas, the contract values negotiated locally by PCTs and dental practices, and the degree to which PCTs and practices may have agreed service outputs that cannot be measured through patient courses of treatment.

Dental Services: Shrewsbury

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much NHS funding went to providing dentistry provision in Shrewsbury and Telford constituencies in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006. [140213]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Primary care trusts (PCTs) assumed full responsibility for local commissioning of primary care dentistry and received devolved budgets with effect from 1 April 2006. A table listing the primary dental service resource allocations for 2006-07 for all PCTs in England as at 31 July 2006 is available in the
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Library. PCTs determine the distribution of resources within their areas. A breakdown of the primary dental service resource allocations by constituency areas is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Full-year data on expenditure by PCTs on primary dental care in 2006-07 are not yet available.

Prior to April 2006, most primary dental services were provided under former general dental service (GDS) arrangements. These were demand-led services where the pattern of dental expenditure was largely determined by where dentists chose to practice, and how much national health service work they chose to undertake. PCTs were not given fixed GDS funding allocations. In a number of areas, personal dental service (PDS) pilots were also established, where some former GDS dental practices and some directly managed dental services converted to locally commissioned arrangements to test new ways of working and new forms of contract remuneration. PDS pilots were funded by PCTs from supplementary allocations issued by the Department.

The following table shows the available data on expenditure on the former GDS and PDS services for the constituencies of Shrewsbury and Atcham and Telford for 2004-05 and 2005-06. The difference between gross and net expenditure is the contribution to costs from dental charges collected directly from patients.

Core GDS and PDS dental payments within Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency and Telford constituency, 2004-05 and 2005-06( 1,)( )( 2,)( )( 3,)( )( 4,)( )( 5)
£ million
2004-05 2005-06

Shrewsbury and Atcham

Gross GDS






Gross PDS






Gross GDS and PDS



Net GDS and PDS




Gross GDS






Gross PDS






Gross GDS and PDS



Net GDS and PDS



(1) Gross GDS payments include adult fees (including item of service and continuing care payments), child fees (including item of service and capitation payments), commitment payments, seniority payments, maternity/paternity/adoptive leave payments, long term sick leave payments, continuing professional development allowances including travel hours, reimbursement of business rates, vocational training grants and clinical audit payments. The following costs are excluded from this data: employer's superannuation costs, vocational trainee salaries and NI contribution costs, clinical audit convenors, clinical audit secretarial support costs and travel expenses, and costs associated with any salaried general dental practitioners and emergency dental services.
(2) PDS payment data relate to baseline payments or the agreed regular monthly payments made to PDS practices. The data cannot identify the cost of any PDS services that are directly managed by local NHS trusts, such as certain dental access centres.
(3) In the immediate aftermath of dental practices converting from GDS to PDS pilots, there can be a period of overlapping expenditure as time lags in submitting GDS treatment claims can mean that clearance of GDS arrears coincides with the start of regular PDS payments.
(4) Payments to dental practices are assigned to areas on the basis of practice postcode data. The practices themselves may draw patients from a wider catchment area.
(5) Net payments represent the balance of payments due after taking account of NHS dental charge income collected from patients by dental practices.
NHS Information Centre

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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dentists are working in Shrewsbury and Atcham; and how many there were in 2006. [140223]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The numbers of national health service dentists in Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency from 31 March 1997 to 31 March 2006 are available in annex G of the “NHS Dental Activity and Workforce Report England: 31 March 2006”. Information is based on the old contractual arrangements. The report is available in the Library and is also available at:

Information on the dental work force under the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, is published every quarter by The Information Centre for health and social care.

These data are not comparable with the historical data prior to this date.

The latest data available are in annex G (number of dentists), within Annex 3 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England Quarter 3: 31 December 2006 report. Data are only available at SHA and PCT level. To provide these data at constituency level area would be at disproportionate cost. The report is available in the Library and is also available at:

Departmental Travel

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have used (i) non-scheduled flights and (ii) helicopters within the UK on official business in the last 12 months; and what the (A) purpose and (B) estimated cost was of each such flight. [118164]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Secretary of State and Ministers in her Department have not used any unscheduled flights in the last 12 months.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State visited the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Charity on 30 October 2006 and took a short helicopter flight at the request of the Chief Executive of the Charity at no cost to the Department or the Air Ambulance Charity.

The cost of our aircraft on that occasion was borne by the aviation contractor. It follows therefore that it was at no cost to either the Department, or the Air Ambulance Charity

Departmental Visits

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) destination and (b) purpose was of each overseas visit outside the European Union undertaken by staff in her Department in the last two months. [118165]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The destinations and numbers of staff travelling outside the European Union between
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March and May 2007 are shown in the following table. All staff were travelling for the purposes of Departmental business. All trips are taken in accordance with the guidelines set down in the civil service code, which states that civil servants must make sure public money and other resources are used properly and efficiently; and use resources only for the authorised public purposes for which they are provided.

Destination Number of travellers

Hong Kong




San Diego


New York
















Los Angeles


Departments: Legal Costs

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by her Department on legal fees in each of the last five years. [139401]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, departmental figures for the cost of external legal services procured by its own lawyers are set out in the following table.

Net VAT Total

















Department of Health Solicitors Unit

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people without posts are employed in her Department. [135873]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department currently has 47 people not in permanent posts but carrying out meaningful work across the organisation until a permanent post can be identified to which they are then deployed.

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