28 March 2007

NHS Dentistry 1948-2007

Mediaeval dentistryThe snaggle-toothed inhabitants of Britain were lining up in the streets outside dentists this morning, following the news that NHS Dentistry has passed away, its jaws clamped shut and its cries of protest muffled, after the publication of a report revealing that two million patients still don’t have access to a dentist under the National Health Service.

NHS Dentistry was born in 1948, the offspring of the post-war Labour government’s dream to offer free dentistry to all and their nightmare of millions of ill-shaped British teeth clamping down on their chip-butties for eternity.

For all the hope in which it was conceived, NHS Dentistry quickly began to show signs of the split personality that would afflict it throughout its life. Whilst purporting to be kind and generous, it could at the same time be money-grubbing and threatening. By the age of three it had already cast aside its practice of treating all and sundry without charge and was demanding payments of up to £1 with a hideously-squealing drill in one hand and a hideously-squealing patient in the other. When simple extortion proved insufficient to sate its lust for terror, NHS Dentistry moved into the protection business, threatening its victims with gnashers resembling Stonehenge and mouths full of gun-metal fillings unless they chose to hand over large portions of their cash and "go private".

With the service on the NHS growing poorer and poorer more and more were forced to fall into the arms of private dentistry or, like Gordon Brown, resolve never to smile again. Soon the nation was divided into two classes, the gummy poor, their teeth whipped out in a sad attempt to evade the dental Mafia, and the shiny-toothed rich, their molars bright but their wallets considerably lighter.

When, last year, the Tooth Fairy was murdered for 50 pence by a gang of freelance orthodontists, the game was finally up. Now almost wholly given over to private work and free dental service now scarcer than hens’ - or, indeed, healthy British - teeth, NHS Dentistry had no choice but to apply the gas to itself.

NHS Dentistry will be buried at the Church of Laurence Olivier amidst much gnashing and wailing of patients’ rotten teeth. It is survived by tying a string between the offending molar and a door-knob, ill-fitting dentures and endless American jokes about English teeth.

1 Comment:

james higham said...

NHS dentistry was not something for the fainthearted. It was a brave man or woman who subordinated their dental health to economic considerations.