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Ministers bite into dental care

SPECIAL payments to dentists are to be extended to encourage them to register and treat pupils aged six to eight from the most deprived areas. Incentives are already in place for pre-school children.

Susan Deacon, the Health Minister, said in a parliamentary answer last week that targeting of households in the most deprived areas will involve between a third and a half of the child population in most health board aeas. But the deprivation index would not work so easily in rural and remote areas, and separate criteria will apply there.

Ms Deacon also revealed plans to increase qualifications among Scotland's 3,500 dental nurses. Fewer than half have formal qualifications and discussions are being held with health professionals and educational organisations to set up courses for dental nurses throughout the country.

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