Thursday, 11 November 2010

Well, That's Settled Then

Yesterday's rundown of responses in relation to dentist enrolment forms showed a certain amount of confusion on the part of dentists and their professional bodies. However, there was one reply I hadn't received at time of writing, that being in response to a letter sent to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's office.

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,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Gatty
Customer Service Centre
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.

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.


Belinda said...

Good work!

Snakey said...

Thanks for that DP. I did consider complaining as I knew they were bang out of order but in the end I decided that should I need a dentist in the future I will go elsewhere (private) and mention to everyone I know not to use Oasis as their dental practice if they can possibly avoid it. The only way to hurt these people is to take your custom elsewhere (if you can afford to). Drive them out of business. I hate to see NHS practices masquerading as a public service when they are, in fact, private practices under contract to the NHS and who couldn't give a stuff about proper customer service because they have the public "captured" through NHS waiting lists.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Oh g'wan. Complain anyway. You never know, you may change not just your dentist, but also initiate guidance which changes the actions of others.

Hey, they built this system - all we can do is exploit it until they treat us with more respect.

Ciaran said...

Not sure about your advice to smugly demand treatment, DP. I certainly wouldn't want someone poking about in my mouth with power tools under duress.

Maybe try that yourself first, and let us know how much it hurts? ;)