What would John Ruskin have said about Groupon in Dentistry?

sad_grouponThe news that a practice in Manchester has gone bust is sad for the patients, the associates and the staff. The fact that this practice had apparently been selling orthodontics via Groupon limits the sympathy that I feel for the owner(s). If anyone has heard me speak in recent months then they will have had no doubt about my feelings regarding the race to the bottom tactics adopted by many “business people” running practices who seem to think that a weekend course or two and a slick marketing allied to a named treatment system is the key to riches.

Here’s a link to the MEN: Angry dental customers left out of pocket after cosmetic firm’s collapse

Of course it’s cases like this that the GDC should be policing and preventing but no amount of CQCs will address it. With Chairman Moyes’ ideas about Dental Care being just a variation on grocery shopping surely the consumers should be protected before the event rather than more ethical colleagues being left to pick up the pieces and restore dentistry’s reputation. No doubt the GDC will chase the associates and the nurses because they are easy meat but the really guilty people will get away with it muttering “Caveat Emptor, don’t you think Dr Bill?”.

What odds on the next good idea to emerge from 37 Wimpole Street being that all dentists who do any private dentistry (and are thus unfaithful to THE brand – NHS) should be forced into an ATOL type of cover so that claims against one dentist can be shared by all. The administration will no doubt come through an arm of the GDC, will be paid for by all registrants who have the temerity to do any private work and will be hailed as a victory for the consumer.

Before this develops into another rant, I’ll share with you the words of John Ruskin which I had typed, framed and hung in my reception area when I turned my back on the NHS in 1992.

  • “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little.
  • When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all.
  • When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
  • The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done.
  • If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

 and as footnote:

  • There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.

It’s all rather sad but predictable.

2016 #24

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