The MP Chris Bryant disgraced himself today with a a wholly unsubstantiated piece or rhetoric when he asked the House to look into private dentistry –Will the Secretary of State add laser surgery clinics to his list, and also private dentists, many of which are encouraging patients to undergo operations they certainly do not need?’
This sort of statement may seem relatively harmless but it is actually an alarming abuse of his power. To make the accusation “encouraging patients to undergo operations they certainly do not need?” without offering any proof or a an opportunity to reply is little better than school ground name calling but potentially much more damaging. As a profession dentistry has a constant up hill struggle to encourage patients to overcome their genuine, fears and concerns about treatment without having the likes of Mr Bryant trying to further his career by throwing cheap jibes like this around.
It is not for me to say what each and every member of the dental profession does or how they discuss the various treatment options with their patients but I would say that every single patient should feel confident to sit and talk with their dentist about their care and not feel pressured into taking on any treatment without first having had time to consider all of their options. It is wrong of dentists to project their treatment preferences on patients without consideration of the patient’s wishes and it is equally wrong of patients to abdicate all responsibility and decision making to the dentist and then complain that they “did not get what they wanted”.
There is undoubtedly an urgent need for an honest discussion about the future of dentistry, one that looks at “Holy Cows” such as the NHS and asks is it genuinely giving patients value for money and quality care. One that also looks at the role of the newly formed CQC to see if it can hope to live up to its remit to police the entire UK medical, dental and associated health care professionals by the end of 2013/14. This discussion should look at ways of assessing dentists competence to practice, their levels of continuing professional development, their working practices and much more but it should not involve uninformed, self aggrandising MPs taking cheap shots safe in the knowledge they will not have to defend their claims.
Oh and by the way, if you were wondering if the MP Chris Bryant was involved in the expenses scandal- yes, yes he was http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/5334791/Chris-Bryant-changed-second-home-twice-to-claim-20000-MPs-expenses.html