I’ve been to the dentist for my regular health-check. My wife sees a dentist at the same surgery. They’ve been bothering her for a while about moving to a private health plan, but not me. I hoped they were getting her silent message. She has thoroughly cold-shouldered all offers of VIP service, extra appointments with a hygienist and a ‘regular payment plan’, because she remembers when that was a pretty good description of NHS dentistry.
This morning, on arrival, I was handed my notice to quit the NHS. My dentist explained that a recent series of changes to NHS funding has made it impossible for her to offer a service she considers adequate and fair, or allows her to spend enough time with each patient. I asked if it was hitting her income. She said it wasn’t and perhaps the large Mercedes parked outside confirms that dentists aren’t starving yet. She is simply giving in to pressure from the government to scrap free health care at the point of delivery – the pressure the Conservative Party continually deny they are applying. They are lying, incompetent or both.
I explained that I couldn’t support a move to a two-tier health system. I thanked her for looking after my teeth for the last few years. She said that she couldn’t fight the changes but that some of the dentists were staying with the NHS, so I could transfer. I don’t think that information would have been volunteered. I have a new dentist.
When I got home, I told Grandad my sad story. He said he expected the changes were to pay for all the foreigners coming over here. For obvious reasons, we don’t usually talk about politics much but I was already quite cross. I explained that I was fairly sure the money was going to the shareholders of private health firms that fund and influence our morally corrupt government. He accepted my alternate explanation without question. Perhaps we need to speak truth unto the powerless more often, so they know where to direct their anger.