In Ian Rankin’s most recent book, Saints of the Shadow Bible, the main character, Edinburgh detective John Rebus, is attending a post-mortem examination of what turns out to be a murder victim. The pathologist reports to him on the presence or absence of distinguishing features that might help identification.
‘No tattoos. No scars. No signs he was ever operated on. Dental records might be another route to establishing identity. I’d say the work was basic British NHS.”
I wonder where in his extensive research Rankin picked up that phrase? I have been asked three times in the past couple of years to recommend a dentist in Rebus & Rankin’s home city of Edinburgh. In each case I have suggested a private practice, or choice of private practices. Not because the person who has requested the referral has specified that they want to be treated “privately” rather because I have checked that they will want to see someone who is able to offer them the full choice of treatment that modern dentistry can offer and will not be hidebound by regulations and controls set down by a government with a commitment to money and control before health.
It could be of course that the work in this poor corpse was “cheap and cheerful” to use the cliche; but I doubt if that is how I would want a clinician to view his or her work. Nor can I see someone churning out cheap staying cheerful for very long – certainly not for a full career.
If we see our medical professionals as having vocations – and I think that is a good thing – the word meaning “to take up an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which the individual is suited, trained or qualified”. It does not mean that they have to be in the dental or medical version of Holy Orders or monasticism. Nor should they accept the limits of what they can or will do by virtue of devalued contract with a now disgraced government advised by a CDO with an agenda. For too long the NHS itself has been used as an excuse by people working within it for results that are poor or for treatment that is not what they would choose for themselves or their family. (I have written before of my father suffering from pressure sores whilst a patient in the University Hospital of Wales.)
In the wake of Bristol, Staffordshire, etc with numerous reports and initiatives isn’t it time that everyone got rid of the attitude of Wilful Blindness, spoke the truth and acted accordingly. Edmund Burke said, “all that evil needs to prevail is for good men to do nothing”. How have we reached this position? One of many reasons is by all of us failing to say “enough is enough” and loudly enough.
I’m happy to have signed Tony Kilcoyne’s recent “Big Lie” letter. As ever the response of the lickspittle CDO for England, Barry Cockcroft, was predictable “no credible evidence etc…”
Here’s the news story from GDPUK followed by the reports in the Daily Telegraph.
“If you see a problem and don’t say there’s a problem then you are part of the problem.”
“Tony Kilcoyne’s ‘Big Lie’ letter has been published in the Daily Telegraph, together with an article in its News section, headlined: ‘NHS provision on the brink of crisis, ministers are told’. In a response Barry Cockcroft CDO NHS England is quoted as saying that “there is no credible evidence to support the suggestion that there is a ‘growing disaster’ in NHS dentistry.”
The article highlights the letter’s assertion that NHS dentistry is ‘unfit for purpose’, because successive governments have ‘shown an obsession with centralised targets and professionals are not being allowed to spend enough time with patients. The newspaper also notes that more than 100 ‘family dentists’ have signed the letter, which accuses ministers of hiding the ‘rotten truth’ about the ‘compromised and mismanaged’ system of state-funded dental treatment in England.
Dr Anthony Kilcoyne who organised the letter is quoted as saying that his colleagues felt ‘massive frustration’ at the pressure put on them to see patients as quickly as possible. He says: ‘I know dentists to whom the NHS is saying: “we are going to reduce your funding because you are spending too much time with patients and doing a good job.”
Barry Cockcroft responds by saying that access to NHS dentistry had increased by over 1.2 million since 2010. He added: “The improvement in oral health in this country over the last 30 years is something that the dental profession and the NHS should rightly be proud that it has played a part in. There is no credible evidence to support the suggestion that there is a ‘growing disaster’ in NHS dentistry.”