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The human cost of NHS dentistry chaos

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

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 975th post was filed under: Health, News and Comment, Politics.

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