Wednesday, 16 March 2011

NHS dentistry "no funding left"

A guy walked into the dentist's surgery yesterday saying he needed an emergency appointment, there was a "massive hole" in his mouth (what I overheard).

The receptionist took his details and then he said he was on income support.

"There's no funding left I'm afraid," she said. "If you come back in April, we'll have the new budget."

Aside from the fact I am very lucky to have had my excruciating jaw ache/tooth problem just in the nic of time, funding is a question I asked my dentist a couple of weeks ago while I was waiting for the anaesthetic to take hold.

By March, he said, the little they are given has gone, so they have to tell people to come back, which he doesn't like doing. London is ok, he told me. In other parts of the country, where there might be only two surgeries in the town, there might not be any NHS work done at all because it simply isn't cost effective. People are resorting to pulling out their own teeth because they simply cannot afford the treatment.

I am not cost-effective. Had I been paying for the treatment I'm sure it would have been me who was getting frustrated, not my dentist. It's fair to say, I'm not their favourite customer although we get on and even laugh about stuff a little (like the footballer who bought the dental nurse's friend a £17,000 bottle of champagne in a club because it turned out they shared the same birthday. "I'd have asked for the money!" said my dentist. "Yeah, me too. Or just a white tooth and maybe £50 for a hygienist!" Oh ha ha ha!)

Yesterday I went to sit in the waiting room while the two injections took effect. I'd asked for this the last time thinking maybe I'm just a slow coach. I am a slow coach. Dentist said "Normally it takes people between 3 and 5 minutes to be numb," he said after I returned 15 minutes later saying it's "quite" numb. "I'm not normal then?" My eyes were pleading, they really were.

He thinks the root canal is over. I go back in two weeks. I still have to be careful eating on the left side. It's throbbing a little this morning, I thought the root was dead but erm, best not think about that...

My mini worry though is he says a filling might be enough to reconstruct this fragile tooth of mine. Fillings are cheap (metal ones, not white ones)

My filling broke the tooth next to it, twice, which is why it is now clad in gold.

It would be more "cost effective" to give me a crown, or something similar. I can wait until April...

Things are not going to get better. Politicians are not financially poor enough to know what life is like for ordinary people.

Politicians (and footballers) do not have to resort to pulling out their own teeth. They do not know what it is to drown in this Free Market; they can pay to go private without thinking about it at all.

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