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The human cost of NHS dentistry chaos

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I have written a lot in the past about the NHS, but rarely have I touched upon the subject of dentistry – mainly because it’s not an area in which I think I have particularly special knowledge. This missive from a reader of Dr Crippen needs no specialist knowledge:

Several years ago I had an NHS dentist. I saw him regularly albeit reluctantly, he used to do his ‘stuff’ and I’d leave, sometimes sore and sometimes not.

Then I moved house.

The area I moved to has few NHS dentists and none of them has vacancies for new NHS patients. I’ve been on four different waiting lists for several years during which I’ve received no dental treatment.

It started with a single filling falling out, shortly followed by another and then within six months nearly every filling in my head ended up in the bin. I rang all the NHS Dentists in the area but I was turned away. I was not registered and, in any case, they had no vacancies. Some of the dental practices didn’t even bother to talk to me. As soon as I mentioned ‘NHS’ and ‘Not Registered’ they just put the phone down on me.

The full story (well worth reading) wants to remind everybody that the Labour government has done little to improve the health service in any meaningful way – an assessment with which the Health Secretary “Mad” Pat agrees.

Let me remind you, for a moment, of Tony Blair’s conference speech of 1999:

…everyone within the next two years will be able once again to see an NHS dentist just by phoning NHS Direct

Seven years later, and NHS dentistry is in a worse state than when Tony Blair made his pledge.

Another broken promise. Another absent apology.

This post was filed under: Health, News and Comment, Politics.

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