“Third World” Dentistry Crisis in England was the headline in Sunday’s Telegraph this week and was in a response to a letter written by Tony Kilcoyne a well known and respected dentist who is a specialist in prosthodontics. The letter was signed by over 400 dentists and was a move designed to call out current and previous governments and NHS England on what they see as the big “NHS Lie” regarding dental care, especially pediatric dental care here in England.
The crux of the problem is an every decreasing NHS budget and an ever increasing dependence on high sugar snacks and drinks from the very youngest of children upwards. I have written about the alarming increase in children’s decay (back in 2008) and now that even Jamie Oliver is talking about it surely everyone will take note.
This really is a sad reality and NHS England’s attempt to blind us with deliberately obfuscatory statistics that tells us we have all never had it so good does nothing to change the reality. Dental service and dental care have been on the decline in the NHS for decades and, as ever, the poorest are always the hardest hit. When I used to work at King’s Dental Hospital the admission policy was really a way of stemming a flood of patients into a steady drip as there was no capacity for the hospital to treat all of the referrals. This meant that patients with real need were returned to the referring practitioner complete with a treatment plan that was completely unworkable under any of the past few NHS contracts. The result was a terrible game of “referral tennis” with the patient caught in the middle having their time wasted whilst their condition deteriorated.
Of course as the owner of a private practice in a”leafy idyll” of Kent I am ripe for the accusation of hypocrite but StoneRock attempted to develop an NHS contract on a number of occasions over the past 10 years but was never able to as the local Primary Care Trusts lacked sufficient funds to open a new practice (even after the last one closed in Hawkhurst 10 years ago).
In the meantime, all we can do as a dental practice is promote dental education and prevention to allow all of our patients to learn how to control the health of their own mouths and ensure that they are doing all they can to prevent further dental problems. If anyone would like to learn how to do this then please contact the practice on 01580752202 and our reception team will be happy to arrange a short introductory hygiene prevention visit for you and your family with one of our hygiene team. Whilst we cannot offer this service for free we are certain that it will be the most cost effective way anyone can learn how to manage their dental health.