A shortage of National Health Service dentists in England has led some people to pull out their own teeth - or use super glue to stick crowns back on, a study says. Many dentists abandoned Britain's publicly funded health care system after reforms backfired, leaving a growing number of Britons without access to affordable care.
"I was not surprised to hear those horror stories," said Celestine Bridgeman, 41, of London. "Trying to find good NHS dentists is like trying to hit the lottery because the service is underfunded."
The National Health Service provides care to the vast majority of Britain's people, often for free. Unlike doctors who work for the health service, dentists work on a contract basis and can leave whenever they wish.
Though private treatment by dentists is available, the tradition of publicly funded care means most people rely on it. But now there are fewer dentists to see patients.
In April 2006, the government reformed National Health Service dentistry in an effort to increase patients' access to treatment and to simplify payments. Dentists objected, complaining it reduced income. Some dentists cut the number of health service patients - or stopped taking them altogether.
Forty-five percent of dentists surveyed said they no longer accept National Health Service patients. In the British study, 78 percent of private dental patients left the National Health Service because their dentist stopped treating NHS patients or they could not find an NHS dentist. Only 15 percent claimed they switched to get better treatment.
British dentists left the government plan because.... they can. What will happen in the US if 45% of primary care docs walk, run, or sprint out the door when they see HillaryCare. Or will she require some sort of bondage or indentured servitude to keep physicians in the plan? 'Trying to find a good HillaryCare physician will be like trying to hit the lottery because the service will be underfunded'.