Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NHS Dentistry - A Decaying Service

A friend of mine went to the Dentist yesterday. Having had his checkup the dentist said: "See you in 9 months". "I thought iit was 6 months," said my friend. He was then told by the dentist that the Government had changed the rules recently and that appointments could now only be every 9 months in order to achieve waiting list targets. I am sure the nation's teeth will be grateful.

I don't remember seeing any coverage of this in the press, or have I been asleep?

34 comments:

Rick said...

Since you pay for the inspection I think you can easily stick with 6 months

Rick said...

There is actually a bigger danger Iain. Since Dentistry is now under the PCT it is affected by hospital deficits and competing with GPs for funds.

My dentist told me the PCT was trying to get its hands on the payments the patient makes directly to the dentist - to ease PCT cashflow - then to reimburse dentists in arrears.

My dentist and I discuss his contract - I think it soothes him as he can relax and take oit his frustration on the next patient.

Since the patient pays for the inspection it is almost a fully private transaction. The new contract reduces the whole of dentistry to work-units and standard-costs

Serf said...

No wonder everyone is sick to the back teeth of this incompetent shower of meddlers.

gunslinger said...

The dentist normally checks for oral cancers as well so the 9 months cycle may mean a delay in diagnosis and ultimately treatment. All part of a pattern - public health services are being cut, under the guise of 'Service Reconfiguration'.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Ian, are not the labour party doing to NHS dentistry exactly what the Tories did to our NHS ophthalmic service. Think on that next time you are crashed into by a functionally blind man in a white van.

Raggasonic said...

9 months? That's funny since I got struck off from my dentist's NHS list because I hadn't visited for 12 months. Apparently, if you don't visit them for a year, they're able to eject you from their client list. I didn't receive any notice of this nor was I informed when it happened. It was only when I tried to make an appointment that I found out that I'd been deleted from the list.

It's stupid, because had I spent my time guzzling sugary drinks and shoving sweets down my gullet, or got into a brawl, I'd probably require treatment. In other words, those who bring dental problems upon themselves and require frequent treatment end up as the chosen few on the NHS list; the rest of us who take care to look after our teeth and gums get thrown out of the system without even a warning.

West Berks Inhabitant said...

Are you telling us that you actually have access to an NHS Dentist?

In retirement we have had to resort to private dentristy leaving a place at the one local NHS dentist to our son who although a skilled craftsman doesn't earn enough to get a mortgage let alone visit a private dentist!

Alastair said...

Christ the man's got a dentist what's he complaining about. Try getting one in Scotland. NHS Dentists are rarer than England victories.

red tamarin said...

I thought it was a year to start with? I've only ever had yearly check-ups, and I can't think of anyone I know without dental problems who goes more often.

Every 6months seems unnecessary to me if you brush properly - pushing it to 9 or 12 months would make a lot of sense given the pressures...

Clive B said...

There's a compelling insight into some of the problems getting an NHS dentist on this blog from the front line.... plus a few laughs to stop you getting too suicidal about it all!

http://sicksadminion.blogspot.com/

Buster George said...

The Department of Health has made a statement saying, "it is not the number of dentists but the quality of service that they provide"

This is despite the fact that due to the new contract sysytem that the government introduced over one thousand dentists have quit the NHS.

In Like Flynn said...

It is certainly a novel way of reducing waiting lists.

Classic Labour tactic... i am pretty certain that any improvement in waiting lists for dentists will be sold to the electorate as an example of the Government working.

If you can't win, just move the goalposts... they've done it before in unemployment figures etc.

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Pedant said...

No, you havn't been asleep, it's just the usual fraud of this shower. Go private. Our dentists did two years ago. You pay a monthly premium (not a lot) and get what treatment you need, when you want it It's super.

Benedict White said...

Whats an NHS dentist?

Peter Hitchens said...

My mothers cat had to have two teeth removed last week it cost £495 !(more than a venerer cost me)
No wonder dentists are pissed off at NHS rates.

Jon H said...

Our private dentist is great and very reasonably priced. Check up is £15, tooth whitening £200 etc. Service is fast, efficient and clean and they have all the latest high tech gadgetry. I wouldn't want to visit an NHS dentist even if i had the chance!

paul said...

OK here is how it works. Yup, I am a dentist. In April 2006 you get told what you will be paid for your years work. This has a financial value and a target of Units of Dental Activity (UDA's)
You get 1UDA for a check up and clean, 2 for any number of fillings extractions and root fillings and 12 for anything that is made in a dental laboratory such as crown(s) denture(s).
Once you have used up your quota that is it till next April. My PCT advise that there are no more UDA's available. Welcome to the Uncle Joe world of NHS dentistry in 2006.

cynic said...

Just brush your bloody teeth properly.

I recently went to a dentist (non NHS of course) where I paid to be told my teeth looked fine. It was my first visit for several years.

I'm not going again for a while either. It's a bloody rip-off.

Paula Keaveney said...

Here in Liverpool we recently discovered that there was literally no NHS dentist in the whole of the south of the city that would accept another patient. The advice from the NHS was to phone the Patient Advistory and Liaison Service and they would be able to tell you where there was an opportunity of getting treated elsewhere. These opportunities would potentially be the other side of the city.. and changing on a daily basis. If you have no transport..and can't travel at the drop of a hat.. forget it. An outrageous situation for the people I represent - in one of the more deprived wards in the country.

Will said...

1. Unless your "friend" is of limited means, he should do the decent thing, get off the busy dentist's NHS list and go private. He may be keeping poorest from having dentistry.

That should worry you, despite your choice of party.

2. "Don't remember coverage in the press". Bit rich of you, Mr Dale. The electorate don't remember any mention of a plan to sideline NHS coverage for dentistry or opticians in the 87 election, but it happened soon enough after.

The electorate might have agreed, if asked, but we were not.

This is the sort of throwaway comment from a prominent Conservative (take the credit, Mr D, you've earned that much) that reminds me why the oleagenous Mr Blair was a safer bet at the three previous elections.

I'm off to make sure my private dentist has not turfed me off the list too.

Anonymous said...

i cannot understand why my comment of 'just like what the Tories did to the NHS eye service' have not appeared here so far. I did not think that Mr Dale censored the truth.

What are we goping to get at Doughboystreat?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Why have the media let the government off the hook on this lack of NHS dentists. If the Tories were in power imagine what the media led by the BBC would be like.

The Druid said...

Given that dentistry has been de facto privatised under President for Life Blair your mate is lucky to have an NHS dentist.

cassander said...

Iain,

you want to delete "Paopao Wang"'s comment above - it's just an automated spam operating as part of a scam to con Google and their advertisers out of some money. And they need it better themselves, to pay for YouTube...

But you do have a nice blog! ;-)

Indigo said...

I was an NHS patient with my dentist for 39 years, attended religiously for a check up every six months all that time - until last April - as I understand it, no one is now "registered" with a dentist. There is a terrible story on the NHS Blog Doctor blog by someone who worked in the NHS for 23 years and who can't afford dental treatment now.

ian said...

It's a bit rich to criticise Labour for privatising NHS dentistry when it was the Tories who introduced the insidious charging for dentists that are the real disincentive for the poorest.

verity said...

Look, you people who are employed - you are financing tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, career single mothers, layabouts...

The NHS must be destroyed. My dentist here has a spotless surgery with every single latest piece of equipment, his nurse is well-trained, his reception staff are charming, you can always get an appointment within at most three days. (Oddly enough, just as you can always get an appointment with a vet almost immediately.) His work is precise and beautiful. His advice is well thought out and borne on experience. And his charges are fair.

In the free market, charges do have to be fair.

Why cannot the British figure out that private works and state-controlled, centralised services do not? What is it with you welfare puppies?

Construct a new system under which people have an option of paying for their own insurance (which would be a helluva lot cheaper than what they are paying for their NHS non-service) and let those who can't pay go to charities or state-run facilities for indigents when they need assistance?

Let's not bedrock government charity here, against the democratic will of the taxpaying contribitors.

Get rid of the NHS. It is yesterday's (i.e. after WWII) answer to problems of 1944 to expensive, hi-tech 2006/7 health care. It's sixty years out of date.

garypowell said...

Ian
Its even richer of you to put up with now what you most probelly very much did not when the Conservative Party were in power.

Im mostly with Verity on this one.

The truth is sometimes painfull but in this case less so, and far cheaper for the tax payer. In fact would make profits and pay tax and dividends.

A point not made by Verity is that if you have to pay personaly for putting your teeth right, you will look after them far better. Or run the risk of looking like Albert Steptoe way before your time.

It is not nessesery or desirable to have any type of alternative state owned system just for the poor. A simple voucher system useable in a competitive private sector would work just fine. Which is almost what we have now with dentistry anyway.

This method should be used in the NHS for HEALTH reasons alone.

However it would also help stop the sad belief that if you dont vote for a socialist party all the hospitals and doctors will mysteriously disapear, and healthcare will somehow magicaly revert to 1876 standards.

Anonymous said...

for dentistry go abroad. It's so much cheaper, that the difference pays the flight. You get a free holiday paid for by your teeth.
tapestry (can you set up a beta.blogger login if you haven't done it already, same as guido has done, when tv ventures permit)

Anonymous said...

i was told by my private dentist that 4 teeth had to come out. My Brazilian dentist in Portugal saved three of them. amazing surgery, more like a film set.
why not go to Portugal and see a Brazilian dentist (they really are good), have a holiday at the same time and still save money.

Anonymous said...

iain, where i live in north kesteven - population 110,000 - we have a mere 3 nhs dentists. to add insult to injury this is one of the three fastest growing places in the country by population. no matter how much you complain at least you have one!

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Albert said...
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