Monday, 15 October 2007
Like pulling teeth – Labour pledge nearly fulfilled.
During the Labour party conference held in Bournemouth in 1999 Tony Blair promised that everybody would have easy access to a dentist within the following two years.
As history has shown the plan hasn’t quite worked out as intended.
A survey published on Monday highlighted the fact that many NHS dental patients in England are being forced to pay for private care, go without treatment or even a 6% that the survey found were pulling out their own teeth.
But perhaps this survey actually provides an opportunity for the DoH.
The figures would suggest that there could be 3,600,000 people performing dental surgery out there at the moment.
An astonishing increase on the numbers doing so in 1997!
A handful for every community throughout the realm.
They are providing a dental service that is truly ‘personal to them’, available at any time of the day or the night and providing the easiest of patient access.
It is an example of an innovative way of providing healthcare to those who need it, at the time they need it and at a considerably reduced cost to the Treasury.
It has also moved away from the culture of ‘Drill and Fill, one of the stated aims when the new Contract for Dentists was introduced in April 2006.
Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said it would take the government "some time" to deal with the shortage of dentists - but he said the idea of a golden age of NHS dentistry was a myth.
But perhaps considering the consummate professionalism and care that the government has shown in its handling of Dentistry we can one day look forward to having a dentist in every home.
And in a round about way Tony’s pledge will have been met.