William Kelly, the do-it-yourself-dentist who extracted part of his own tooth, leaving a black stump.
"I’ve got a dental abscess", said my patient, opening a mouth that looked like the Black Hole of Calcutta. He asked me to prescribe antibiotics. Like every other GP in the country faced with this increasingly common presentation, I sighed, and suggested he went to see his dentist.
"I tried to get an appointment with my dentist this morning but he is very busy so he cannot see me until next Tuesday. And anyway, NHS Direct says you have got to treat it".
NHS Direct is indeed telling them to take their dental problems to their GP. (full report here) No wonder the government is constantly pressurising me to be available at all times of the day and night.
I do not blame the dentists for leaving Gordon Brown’s micromanaged NHS. They have been treated appallingly. I even understand the government’s cynical dishonesty about dentistry. Gordon Brown will continue to pretend that NHS dental treatment is widely available until the last dentist has left the service. The financial savings will be enormous. The only thing I do not understand is how the government has been allowed to get away with the abolition of NHS dentistry.
Why has there not been a public outcry?
Following media reports of patients unable to access NHS dentistry and even treating themselves, the health minister said on the Radio 4 Today programme that this should not be happening. There was now a duty on primary care trusts to provide urgent dental treatment. Mr Bradshaw said: "If people are in pain or need urgent treatment, they should go either to their GP or to their primary care trust and demand what is now their right." (Medical News Today)