I have been a dentist for over 30 years, and fairly recently I’ve developed Future Health Partnership (FHP). It is a not-for-profit healthcare organisation with the ultimate aim of allowing each practice to become part of a group and be held for the benefit of all staff.
You may well ask why I felt the need to create this unique offering. Well, over the course of my career pretty much everybody I’ve come across has been tearing their hair out about NHS dentistry. When I say everybody, I mean everybody who cares about quality care and offering patients the level of care that they want, demand and deserve, and who simply want to be paid a fair price for that.
‘Everybody’ does exclude a few, such as:
NHS dentistry will never be a vote winner, so it’s never going to be their priority. I perceive that as long as they can control the budget and blame somebody else for the problems affecting NHS dentistry, they will remain in their Westminster bubble.
Department of Health
They have too many problems with mainstream NHS, never mind NHS dentistry. Since 2006 the dental budget has been tightly controlled, even though they insist the service everyone wants is available. The truth is there isn’t the money to deliver what the Department of Health promises.
NHS Dental Corporates
This is something of a money spinner that, in my opinion, has the potential to overlook the quality of dentistry being delivered. Should a ‘life-long’ government contract that has the ability to deliver millions of pounds each year come into the hands of anyone unscrupulous, it has the makings of healthcare disaster.
50+ old school dentists with big NHS contracts
This group came through the dental ranks when the NHS was a real money maker. Decay was everywhere and thus amalgam was in virtually every surface of every posterior tooth. Housing was cheap and so was sending your kids to university. Practice and home ownership was less of a struggle, and nowadays associates can deliver the contract while principals obfuscate the benefits garnered in the past and lament the future.
So what is the solution? I believe leaving the NHS, breaking away from the pontificators and administrators is! I believe in the future of healthcare, and I think the best people to run it and deliver it for patients are the staff themselves. If people care and believe in better, they will ultimately thrive.