teething problems in the new nhs

sugar teeth. in the cheap seats with the cheap sweets.

Every time I drop by the dentist I receive unwanted confirmation that I am, in fact, getting longer in the tooth. If my gums recede any further I will be picking teeth out my trouser cuffs just like Tony Soprano. It\’s a sad affair.

Granted, the NHS being what it is these days, I\’m fortunate just to have a dental practice on which to visit my woes in the first place. The queue for those biannual appointments extends not just around the block but several counties across the border into the north of England. Dental surgeons are hesitant to sign on new patients, everybody knows, so if you\’re not on their books already you will probably have to take your chances with a pair of jeweler\’s pliers or a piece of string attached to the door knob. If it\’s a scale and polish you require, the onus is upon you to improvise with an altogether more impressive degree of flair. It would be advisable to invest in one of those dinky little mirrors on permanent special offer in the cosmetics aisle of your local Boots.

On one memorable occasion the entire extended family of a young asian family occupied the waiting room hoping to have their relatives from Kazakhstan (Pakistan, more honestly, but somehow the former sounds less incendiary) examined for free. Three or four generations set up shop and haggled with the receptionist. Only the youngest couple appeared to be registered as patients. There seemed to be polite debate as to the oldest relative\’s actual date of birth.

103, said one. No, 93, announced another. And how dare you enquire after documentation or citizenship!

The burden of proof is an insult. The litigious taint of racism was in the air.

This was not the sort of examination they solicited, it would seem.

The elderly man in question kept his silence. He may have endured an abscess for some weeks, or perhaps he merely sought new dentures. Either way, he thought it best to sit there and say nothing which might be construed as vaguely incriminating.

In America, of course, you only get what you pay for. God forbid a child without a trust fund should require hospital treatment.



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