Dentistry is in a state of flux.
The NHS dental contract imposed in 2006 has not proved to be a success. Back in 2003 a British Dental Association group including amongst others Dr Tariq Drabu from Manchester was invited by the then Labour government to discuss a proposed new contract. These were not negotiations as the contract was going to be imposed no matter what.
This contract was supposed to deliver on prevention but instead led to a state of affairs which put dentists on a treadmill where they had to work faster to keep at the same level of output for decreasing levels of remuneration.
The coalition government knows that the current state of affairs cannot continue. It is piloting new ways of delivering NHS dentistry at many sites across England with a view to establishing a new dental contract within the next three years. Dr Tariq Drabu supports these pilots some of which are based in Manchester. This is a new state of affairs for dentists with the government seeming to want to work with them and take things forward. It would be a sad state of affairs if at the end of these pilots the government decided to impose a new contract. One would hope that they would learn lessons from these pilots.
At the same time as a possible new contract is being tested the Government is going ahead with major reforms of the National Health Service. This has led to a confused state of affairs with in the NHS with many staff including those in Manchester unsure of their jobs or their futures.
When the new NHS dental contract was imposed in 2006, many dentists, including quite a few in Manchester, left the NHS and converted their practices to private. However with worsening economic conditions there are now many accounts of private dental practices now going bankrupt or facing severe financial difficulty. This is a very precarious state of affairs. Dr Tariq Drabu remains a strong supporter of NHS dentistry.
New graduating dentists leave university with a very high levels of debt. Previously they would all be guaranteed first year training jobs. Now there is a shortage of jobs and some newly qualified dentists are actually unemployed. Dr Tariq Drabu thinks that this is a scandalous state of affairs and a total waste of taxpayers money and will discuss this in an upcoming blog.