§ Mr. Denham
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he plans to take to improve access to(a) NHS dentistry and (b) NHS orthodontic treatment in the Southampton Primary Care Trust area; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the availability of NHS orthodontic treatment to patients in the Southampton Primary Care Trust area; 
(3) what assessment he has mad, of the availability of NHS dentistry to patients in the Southampton Primary Care Trust area. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
[holding answers 31 March 2004]: Southampton City Primary Care Trust (PCT) has made arrangements to ensure that any patients requiring urgent dental treatment can usually be offered an appointment on the same day. For patients wishing to register with a National Health Service dentist for routine dental care there were, on 30 March 2004, four dental practices in the city accepting new NHS patients. There were also three dental practices accepting NHS orthodontic patients, although there are waiting times for these appointments. The PCT has also put in place arrangements to ensure that the more complex orthodontic cases are treated at Southampton General Hospital. which has 1.5 whole time equivalent orthodontic consultants. Southampton also has one personal dental service site in operation—the Southampton and South West Hampshire Dental Access center—which sees an average of 815 patients each month.
We have provided new investment totalling £90 million to NHS dentistry over the last year. £59 million will support access, and strategic health authorities (SHAs) have been advised of their shares and are working with their PCTs to address access issues. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight SHA has been allocated £1.64 million, and Southampton City PCT will receive a share of this to support its action plan to improve access to NHS dentistry in Southampton. Additionally, the PCT funds a local dental helpline, which provides information on where NHS dentistry, including orthodontics, is available locally, either for urgent or routine treatment.
§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists have left the NHS, in whole or in part, to work in the private sector in each year since 1997 in(a) total, (b) NHS Trust areas covering Portsmouth and (c) NHS Trust areas covering Hampshire. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
Information on the total number of dentists leaving the general dental service (GDS) or personal dental service (PDS) is shown in the table. Information is not available on the reason for leaving.
Dentists can leave the National Health Service for a variety of reasons. These include retirements, short term 206W absence, leaving for other employment as well as dentists leaving the NHS dental services to practise wholly privately.
Few dentists leave the NHS altogether to practise privately. There are approximately 1,000, or 5 per cent. of dentists who practise wholly privately. This number includes specialists.
Number of leavers from the GDS or PDS 12 months
Isle of Wight
1998 1,000 48 5 1999 1,065 63 14 2000 1,228 67 13 2001 1,256 74 12 2002 1,370 77 14 2003 1,248 67 8
Information is not available on the number of dentists who have partially left the NHS. Dentists on the GDS and PDS are mainly self-employed and are free to vary the amount of NHS work they do.