Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday February 08 2011

Tomorrow I face what may prove to be a rather debilitating bout of dentistry.  Basically, the other day, one of my pretend teeth (that was attached to the remains of a real tooth) fell off, leaving only a small stump.  Since the pretend tooth was there to enable me to chew with the left side of my mouth, I need another pretend tooth where the previous one was, fast.  So, I can’t wait for the Envy of the World to do it.  That could take months.

Actually, it already has taken months.  Around last October, I became aware that the pretend tooth was probably about to fall off, any month now, and I told my dentist this.  My dentist said he could do it quickly, at a price (and at a price which did not strike me as unreasonable).  But at my request, my dentist instead told the Tooth Surgery Department of the Envy of the World, and the Envy of the World was asked to tell me when it could make me another pretend tooth, at no cost.  Then, I felt able to wait.

But apparently the Envy of the World has delayed sending out a whole clutch of letters to people in my kind of predicament (telling us all when it might be able to do things like make us new pretend teeth), a fact I was told about at my dentist yesterday, when I went there to tell them that things had become more urgent, but that no, I had indeed heard nothing yet from the Envy of the World.  Could it be that The Envy of the World wants to keep me waiting to get onto the waiting list, so that I will only stay on the waiting list for a very short time (having waited to be on it for a long time) thereby enabling the Envy of the World to crow that I was treated by the Envy of the World with great speed (when actually the Envy of the World kept me waiting for months)?  Obamacare enthusiasts - and I just know that you read this blog in your thousands, let this be a lesson to you.  With nationalised industries of all kinds you get what you pay for, and by and by not even that.

So anyway, what with this dentistry, probably happening tomorrow afternoon, I may not be in a very blogging mood tomorrow, or even the next day, or even the next or the next.  So, a longer gap than is usual here, between this posting and the next, may transpire.  I promise nothing.  I don’t now promise not to put anything up here for the next several days.  I merely speculate in advance that this is how it might be.

Let me get this right.  The pretend tooth is what the rest of us know as a crown.  The Envy of the World is what the rest of us know as the NHS.  Yes?

Because, just before Christmas, my pretend tooth fell out and the Envy of the World managed to glue it back in position pretty quickly.  Not bad considering it was just before Christmas.

Please don’t anyone think for one minute that I don’t want to live to see the day when the NHS is abolished.  I have good reason to despise it.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 08 February 2011

I’ve still got a tooth in my mouth that the last Envy of the World dentist I shall ever see wanted to remove.

That was in 1985.

Private dentistry vs NHS is like comparing Switzerland and Haiti for water hygiene.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 09 February 2011

Is the dental work now being done on the NHS now that it has changed from being non-emergency to emergency, or have you now switched to it being private?

Personally, I work under the general assumption that dentistry in the UK does not exist, and visit dentists on my occasionally visits to Australia, where private dentistry is the only kind.

I think this is probably for the best.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 09 February 2011

Brian, sorry to hear about this. Just so you know, I had to have a tooth extracted last year - after a failed root canal op. I had the work done at a private practice in Soho Square - excellent work - and I can recommend the practice. I am having an implant sorted out later this year.

Posted by Tom Burroughes on 09 February 2011

Thanks Tom

It turns out that the remains of my tooth will be removed in a fortnight’s time, after which I will pause, and consider whether I too want an implant.  My dentist reckons I probably won’t miss the real tooth.  That seems implausible now, but he is probably right, what with him being a dentist.

Interestingly, he said I could just go to Kings College (or something similarly named) and get the thing removed pronto.  But I then learned from the receptionists that I would have to lie about being in pain, about it being an emergency, blah blah.  Not going to do that, thank you.

So anyway, cancel the blog pause.  The usual dribble of postings will continue here as usual.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 09 February 2011

Eww. I have an entirely rational fear of dentists. So good luck with yours. I have a feeling that the tooth pause will probably be rather brief - how can one not miss a tooth?
On the Envy of the World, and while accepting that the NHS is far from perfect, I would again challenge people to compare it with other public health systems across the world. I have yet to come across a better “free” service, although of course you always have the option of being shafted by private healthcare practitioners and insurance companies if you wish to avoid the public option.

Posted by 6000 on 09 February 2011

6000: “free” is the problem, surely. In Australia, the government pays most of the cost, but doctors work for themselves. When you see a doctor, you are treated like a customer, and at the end of the visit you hand over some money, and there is a double thank you. (You then apply for a refund of most of the money government later). In Britain, in order to see a doctor you have to first deal with a receptionist with an attitude remniscent of a railway ticket clerk in the Soviet Union in 1993, who tells you that there are no appointments available until Wednesday the week after next. Private healthcare does exist and is excellent, but it has been crowded out by the NHS to the extent that it costs three times as much as in Australia, even before the government refunds part of the cost.

NHS supporters say that healthcare is too important not to be free at the point of delivery. The precise reverse is true. Healthcare is so important that it must not be free at the point of delivery.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 10 February 2011

I meant “The Soviet Union in 1983”, there.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 10 February 2011

I’ve had root canal treatment once with a private dentist. It was less excruciating than several of my experiences of NHS dentistry. The worst was the time a painkiller injection went through the gum and out the other side.

In the private sector: between the drugs, the chat about organised crime in Northern Ireland, the Handel playing in the background and the glass ceiling so I was looking up at trees on a sunny afternoon near Sloane Square… I’ve had worse dates.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 10 February 2011
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