Carmarthen Journal; A Nagging Pain in Britain: How to Find a Dentist
Wales is so lacking in British government-subsidized dental treatment that 600 people recently lined up outside dental office in Carmarthen seeking one of 300 advertised appointments to see National Health Service dentist; some pitched tents overnight and others came from 90 miles away; ever fewer British dentists are willing to endure grueling, assembly-line work required to take part in National Health Service.
Here’s another story (complete, this time) on the problem:
NHS dentist shortage is exposed
The full extent of the shortage of NHS dentists is exposed today.
New statistics show that fewer than half of Londoners are registered with a state dentist – the worst record in the country.
The figure has fallen to as low as 21 per cent in some areas – raising concerns about the state of dental health in the capital. Critics blame health chiefs for failing to prioritise dentistry and say urgent action is needed to widen access to NHS care.
Thousands of patients across Britain are being forced into private-dental care because of the shortage of places on NHS registers.
Earlier this month, 600 people queued outside an NHS dental practice in Wales because it was taking on new patients.
The latest figures show that on average, only 40 per cent of Londoners are registered with a state dentist, compared to 74 per cent in Great Yarmouth, 71 per cent in Ipswich and 82 per cent in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
The worst affected areas in the capital are Kensington and Chelsea, where only 21 per cent of residents are on the register; City and Hackney, where 29.4 per cent have a state dentist; and Tower
Hamlets, where only 28 per cent have a place. By contrast, 48 per cent in Haringey are registered, with 46 per cent in Westminster.
Many of those who cannot register with a state dentist and are unable to afford private care are forced to visit NHS drop-in clinics, where staff do not have access to their records and only provide emergency care.
Dr Evan Harris, health spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “This is bad news for Londoners’ teeth. As dentists leave the NHS in droves, the Government is putting money into providing dental access centres for emergencies, instead of people getting care throughout the year. Also, patients have to travel further.”
In 1999, the Prime Minister promised that within two years, everybody who wanted access to an NHS dentist would have it.
However, the number of dentists working for the NHS has declined – many claiming that poor pay forces them to go private. State dentists, who are selfemployed and work as “independent contractors” for the Government, receive about £18 for filling a tooth. The private patient fee is about £50.
A spokeswoman for the British Dental Associat ion said : “Because dentists are contractors, it is up to them where they work and how many NHS patients they treat. We worry that increasingly only emergency care will be available on the NHS.”
John Renshaw, chairman of the BDA’s executive board, said: “The NHS pays dentists a standard fee. This discourages dentists from working in some areas. The Health and Social Care Bill will give primary care trusts the power to set payments, which should improve the situation.”
Here’s ANOTHER story about just how hard it is to get dental care in Wales:
I broke law to help others
A NORTH Wales pensioner last night told how he helped scores of people desperate for dental care – even though it was illegal.
For years Russell Hall has fitted people with dentures. He even advertised his services in the Yellow Pages.
The 70-year-old told the Daily Post: “I know what I have done is illegal, but when there are people coming up to you desperate for help, then I was not going to turn them away.”
Mr Hall, of Hafod Road West, Penrhyn Bay, is a retired dental technician but not a qualified dentist.
Yesterday, he was fined £1,250 by Llandudno magistrates after client Marjorie Porter, of Penrhyn Bay, complained to the General Dental Council.
He was also ordered to repay her £360 and prosecution costs of £1,616.
In court he claimed less than half the population had access to an NHS dentist, leaving people no option but to seek illegal aid.
A dental technician makes false teeth but is not allowed to work in a person’s mouth. That has to be done by a qualified dentist.
I just shelled out about $1,100 to an periodontist to have my wife’s teeth worked on (after she suffered for six months because she hates going to the dentist.) But at least we were able to make the appointment(s) and get her seen.
Please, jeebus – no nationalized health care here.