§ 26. Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS dental practices there are in Pendle and Burnley; and how many are accepting new NHS patients. 
§ Jacqui Smith
There are 16 national health service dental practices in Pendle, three of which are currently accepting all categories of NHS patients; another (one) practice is accepting children only. Burnley has 12 NHS practices, one of which is accepting NHS patients for dentures only.
§ Ms Blears
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is responsible for the provision of dental services in England. Provision of services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the devolved bodies.
In September 1999, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister promised that within two years everyone will be able to access national health service dentistry if and when they want it via NHS Direct. All health authorities in England now have in place dentistry action plans to ensure that everyone in their local area can access NHS dentistry if they want it within a reasonable time and distance. The plans identify shortfalls in service provision and ways of tackling unmet demand.
We have invested over £100 million of additional funding in NHS dentistry in the last two years. Dental access centres offering a complete range of services to unregistered patients, are operating from over 100 sites and more are being developed. Funding has been made available to general dental practitioners to encourage them to treat more NHS patients. In addition regulations have been introduced allowing health authorities to use their own resources to access NHS dentistry tailored to the needs of their local communities.
Information for patients on NHS dentistry via NHS Direct has been available nationally since the end of September. Callers seeking access to NHS dentistry will from now on be provided with information about the availability of NHS dental services within a reasonable distance of their homes.
§ 38. Lawrie Quinn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the availability of NHS dentists in the rural districts of North Yorkshire. 
§ Jacqui Smith
Currently there is one dentist in Scarborough Town and another some three miles away in East Ayton accepting new National Health Service patients. There are also dentists in Whitby and Kirkbymoorside accepting new NHS patients. Additional resources have been allocated to a general dental practice in Scarborough to enable it to treat more unregistered NHS patients. The health authority has set up dental access centres in Scarborough, Whitby and York. The demand for these services is high and the health authority is considering expanding these dental access centres.