In timely fashion, it materialised today. And far from being the usual evasive, wishy-washy affair, I think this could be called an unequivocal stance (emphases mine).
Dear Mr Puddlecote,Indeed it is helpful, Mr Gatty. It proves categorically that my recent Dental Pricktitioner correspondent is not only wrong, but also acting in contravention of DH guidelines as well as, possibly, breaking codes of conduct pertaining to his registration as a dentist.
Thank you for your email of 1 November to the Department of Health about dentistry and information relating to the patient’s tobacco consumption and weekly unitary alcohol intake. I have been asked to reply.
It is not a mandatory requirement, but good practice, for dentists to collect information on patients’ tobacco consumption and alcohol intake. The dentist will take no further action where the patient declines.
The Department is not aware of anyone being refused NHS dental treatment on the basis of not providing information on tobacco consumption and alcohol intake, and it would strongly urge anyone who is being refused dental treatment to complain to their local primary care trust.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Customer Service Centre
I suggest it might be worth cutting out and keeping those words for future reference. Such indisputable advice from an impeccable authority is certain to instantly silence even the most intimidatory and stubborn dental jobsworth.
If you're reading this, Snakey, you may find it fun to revisit the practice who refused to enrol you and smugly demand that they do so. Although, considering the potentially painful nature of backlash from a chastened dentist, perhaps a complaint would be less risky.