NHS care for English teeth bites the dust?

From the News Line:

Millions denied NHS dental care under Labour
IT IS estimated that 7.4 million people in England and Wales have not been to a National Health Service dentist since April 2006, because they cannot find a dentist working within the NHS in their area.

This is the devastating situation facing millions of people discovered by a survey carried out by the charity Citizens Advice (The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux).

More than 30 per cent of those questioned said that the reason they had not been to a NHS dentist was because they could not get one.

Citizens Advice estimates that of the 7.4 million people, 4.7 million had sought private treatment and 2.7 million had simply been forced to go without dental care. The government acknowledged in 2006 that two million people could not get an NHS dentist.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive said: ‘These figures show the scale of the lack of access to NHS dentistry, reflecting the evidence which bureaux across England and Wales have been reporting ever since the early 90s. People on low incomes are particularly affected as private treatment is just not an option.’

In Cornwall someone asked the CAB to find them an NHS dentist anywhere in the county, but one could not be found.

A pensioner in North Yorkshire was told that there were two NHS dentists in the area, but both had a 12-month waiting time to join their patient list.

Hampshire CAB reported that it found that the nearest NHS dentist for someone with a disabled husband was 17 miles from their home and no public transport existed to get there.

The British Dental Association, which represents 20,000 dentists in the country, challenged the government concerning the situation exposed by Citizens Advice. It said: ‘(The BDA) has warned that primary care trusts and dentists must be properly supported if the Government is serious about improving access for patients.’

In response to Citizens Advice’s findings, Health Minister Ann Keen said: ‘We are working hard to improve access to NHS dentists and the government remains fully committed to expanding services.’

After 11 years in which Labour has been in office, the government’s past ‘commitment’ has resulted in 7.4 million people being deprived of a NHS dentist!

It is clear that Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government has no intention of funding NHS dentistry so that it provides free, universal, comprehensive dental care, that is a service based on the founding principles of the NHS.

Ophthalmic care has already ceased to be an accessible free NHS service, as corporate chains of opticians have taken over in the high street. NHS dentistry is being killed off in the same way.

The demise of NHS dentistry exposed by Citizens Advice is a warning about the government’s plans for the rest of the NHS, including family General Practitioners (GPs) and District General Hospitals.

Brown justified dismantling these vital services 10 days ago in his speech on the future of the NHS, when he declared: ‘The NHS of the future will be one of patient power, patients engaged and taking greater control over their own health and healthcare too.’

As far as dental care is concerned, millions are already being forced to carry out their own care because there are no NHS dentists.

This is the blueprint for Brown’s ‘expert patients’ and people with chronic, life-threatening conditions treating themselves and dying quietly in their homes.

GP’s services are to be taken over by profit-grabbing healthcare corporations and their polyclinics. NHS District General Hospitals are being closed down, to be replaced by a few specialist centres with A&Es and private ISTCs carrying out routine operations.

To stop dentistry becoming the model for the whole of the NHS, healthcare workers’ unions must join with the rest of the trade union movement in taking mass strike action to stop the destruction of the NHS and bring down the Brown government.

The only way to defend the NHS and restore and expand it, to ensure that it is a universal, free, comprehensive service, is by replacing the Brown government with a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.


6 Responses to “NHS care for English teeth bites the dust?”

  1. Robert Says:

    I wrote to Tony Blair , Gorden Brown, and to my local Labour party my MP, and was told your mistaken you can get an NHS dentist, I was told your not going about it right and they sent me a leaflet which stated phone the NHS direct phone line. But in the end I did everything. Labour put out local pages in the local newspapers and lied full blown lies.

    They stated we have hired five dentist from Poland and they are running a clinic now in your area. We looked and hunted and could not find anything. Then on TV we saw a dentist in West wales with a line of people waiting to register, I shot off down to join that line sadly to be told the dentist had shut his doors over 3,000 people at lined up.

    I have letters from my MP saying what problems, your wrong, then my wife had toothache and she was in pain, three months later she cried for help, I pulled her tooth out with a pliers. ( in local press)

    I also took three of my own teeth out why because we have not seen an NHS dentist for ten years.

    My young grandson who lives with us was taken seriously ill, Dylan was rushed to hospital and a doctor said we must take all his teeth out he has a serious dental condition, has he seen a dentist we said nope. Now Dylan has to have all his second teeth removed he is eight years old.

    My other grand son was in pain after losing a filling I took his tooth out, and the abscess had to be treated in hospital, now you will say why not take him to hospital first, well they will refuse point blank to treat anyone until they are ill.

    This is no joke and Labour says to people thats rubbish but we are living with it, I’ve now seen a dentist after ten years of waiting and had all my teeth removed because of gum problems, I am not the only one either it’s estimated 12,000 people in my area have no NHS dentist, because I’m disabled private dental companies have refused to take me on.

    I have left the Labour party after 36 years, I’ll never vote for them again.

  2. charliemarks Says:

    I’m having some problems myself.

    In fact I got the following message when I tried to search for NHS dentists in England:

    404 NOT FOUND

    How curious. How apt.

    Thanks for relating your story Robert. It is all too typical of England in the 21st Century.

  3. Alan Jones Says:

    Last year I flew to Poland to have my dental treatment.
    The flight to Krakow came to less than £100 round trip, and the apartment in Krakow was provided free.
    The cost was less than half the cost of similar treatment in the UK and the dentistry state-of-the art.

  4. charliemarks Says:

    I had heard that many migrants from Poland and other Eastern European countries returned home for medical and dental treatment – and didn’t quite believe it until I found it to be true.

    Since flying to Poland isn’t good for the environment, can we make a green case for NHS dentistry?

  5. Paul Says:

    My sister works for an NHS dentist and they are required to take so many immigrants in. That is the reason why the English are having a hard time finding an NHS dentist.

  6. charliemarks Says:

    Erm, no Paul. It’s because dentists don’t want to treat NHS patients on the NHS because of a new contract for doing the work…

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