The government seems very keen to blame it's own failings on those who deliver frontline care in the NHS. Dr Crippen has already touched on Labour's massive failings with NHS dentistry, remember in 1999 when that honest chap Tony Blair promised everyone would have access to an NHS dentist within 2 years; well guess what, it's eight years down the track, and two million people are still waiting. Would Tony have lied about something? There must be another explanation.
This has been released today by the Citizen's Advice Bureau. It turns out that these fabled government 'reforms' have not resulted in any improvement in the percentage of people receiving treatment, while:
"77% of survey respondents said one reason they couldn’t find a suitable NHS dentist was that there were no local dentists accepting NHS patients,
37% said another reason was that there were long waiting lists for local NHS dentists25% of respondents said the nearest dentist was too far away or too expensive to travel to"
The reforms have led to a truly ridiculous situation whereby dentists are going on holiday for the rest of the year because there is simply no more money to pay them, however there is most definitely no lack of patients needing treatment.
The blame lies firmly at the door of Labour and the Department of Health; funny how this partnership seems to be to blame for so much these days. A frankly stupid program of reform has produced a system that just doesn't work. A bizarre system of payment is leaving the PCTs with massive cash shortfalls, and consequently there is no money to pay dentists to do NHS work. This results in dentists going on extended holidays while there are patients a plenty needing treatment; and around 95% of dentists are less confident in NHS dentistry after these reforms.
Meanwhile the minister in charge Rosie Winterton thinks everything is going swimmingly well, as do the DoH; no surprise there then. To quote the 'comical Winterton':
"The overall picture is that, despite the speculation, the number of dentists is growing and rather than leaving they are actually keen to expand their work for the NHS - hardly indicative of a failing system."
Get your head out of that sand pit Rosie, it seems a rather large majority of dentists and patients would disagree with you. It seems that there is a bit of a common theme here. We have government reform that is evidently failing and the blame is being laid at the door of dentists by the government for not 'planning' their work properly. The people in charge, namely the DoH and government, are ignoring the opinions of the dental profession and the patients; while they insist that it's the best year ever for NHS dentistry. Is there a recurring theme here perhaps?
(Check out the excellent front point for a better analysis than mine.)
Those dentists are just so greedy like those damn GPs, how dare they expect to actually get paid for working! It's all their fault, even though they were not consulted properly on government reform that forced a system of payment upon them that was about as likely to work as trying to drill through a pavement with your forehead. I really wish the GPs and dentists were as honest and altruistic as the politicians, then we might not be in the mess we are in today.