§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 19 November 2001]: We are committed to ensuring that national health service dentistry is available to all who want it through registration with an NHS dentist. In supporting this commitment the Government have invested over £100 million in the last two years. This includes a scheme that spends about £20 million per annum on rewarding dentists with a significant NHS commitment.
Registration can play an important role in promoting oral health through strengthening the relationship between patient and dentist. However many people do not visit a dentist regularly. Systems are now in place for NHS 979W Direct to advise patients in all parts of the country on where they can find a NHS dentist, within locally defined time and distance standards.