§ Mr. Churchill
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many free dental examinations were provided under the National Health Service in the most recent year for which figures are available; what percentage of these will, under the new arrangements for charging, continue to be free; and what estimate has been made of the likely percentage reduction in examinations among those who will now be required to pay.
§ Mrs. Currie
In 1986–87, the latest year for which figures are available, the number of free examinations provided under the general dental service in England was 29.043 million. If the examinations had been chargeable, we estimate that 47 per cent. would have been provided free of charge to exempt patients and to patients for whom the charge would have been remitted on grounds of low income. We see no reason to expect any reduction in the number of examinations provided as a result of the proposed charge.