§ The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton)
The written ministerial statement of 12 February 2004 covering national health service charges in England informed the House that we planned to raise the maximum patient charge for a course of dental treatment from £372 to £378 from 1 April 2004.
In order to minimise changes and to avoid any confusion for patients, dentists and their practice staff, we are deferring the increase in the maximum charge for a course of dental treatment from 1 April to 1 May 2004 so as to coincide with the implementation of the doctors and dentists review body recommendation for dentists' fees. The fees will be backdated to 1 April 2004 but the new charges will be effective from 1 May 2004 and there will be no retrospective increases to charges already paid by patients.
The chief dental officer will be writing to all dentists advising them of the 1 May 2004 implementation date for the statement of dental remuneration and the increase in the maximum charge for a course of dental treatment.