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Just a few random thoughts and pictures

NHS Dental Care, gaps in the current system…

This post is based entirely on my own personal recent experiences. I have no idea what things are like in other areas. For me though, it has not been a good experience…

First, a little background. To put it bluntly, I’m phobic when it comes to dentists, and I don’t use that term lightly. Even the thought of visiting one can reduce me to shakes and bring on a cold sweat. Getting me into a dentists office is therefore no easy task, but my partner has struggled to do so over the years, and generally managed it, but only when I’ve really needed help. I’ve been this way pretty much all my life, and as a result have had only limited contact with an assortment of dental surgeons local to my home over the years. Thus far, most have not really known how to handle my issues, but in the past I’ve been referred without much trouble to other practices where they can offer me sedation for extractions etc, and these have been carried out fairly swiftly, which has helped.

Fast forward to now, and anyone out there who’s been paying attention knows I’ve been having issues with one of my wisdom teeth for some time. Well over a month ago now, the pain became intense, so intense I finally allowed my partner to take me to the local dentist for help. They diagnosed gum disease, confirmed there was also an infection beneath at least one of my teeth, and advised I’d need at least two teeth extracting. Given the state I was in however they realised I would need sedation to allow them to do this, and as in the past agreed to refer me for the procedure. In the meantime they’ve issued me with three separate courses of antibiotics over a three week period to keep things under control until I can get further treatment.

And here’s where that “gap” comes in. I was refereed by my local dentist just under a month ago, and once I finally heard back I was told the first available appointment was 28th November. Yes, you read that correctly. From referral to initial appointment is a wait of TWO months, and all the while I’m still in pain. The levels vary from day to day thankfully, so some days are better than others, but I haven’t gone a single day now for over 6 weeks where I haven’t had to take pain killers at least once, and I’ve still got another month of this before they even look at me.

I woke up in pain yet again this morning, and called the surgery I’ve been referred to to ask about bringing the appointment forward. Apparently the dentist I need to see is only there once a week, so appointments are very limited, so I’m going to have to wait.

After hearing this I asked how long after my initial appointment I’m likely to have to wait for actual treatment, since the first appointment is merely to access what work is needed. While they couldn’t give me specifics, as things change on a day to day basis, the lady I spoke to advised that if I were there TODAY for my initial appointment, the next hour long one available (which is required for sedation) would be mid-December, which is well over 6 weeks away.

Using that as a guide, it looks as though I’m going to waiting a further two and a half to three months (given we’re hitting Christmas by then) before I finally get these teeth taken out. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite a “gap”.

My only alternative is to pay for private treatment, the costs of which are quite horrific. I know because I’ve spent the morning on the internet looking it up.

I’m unemployed, and apparently unemployable as far as employers are concerned, given my various health issues. I get no state help though, as my partner earns too much for me to claim income support, and I’m not classified as ill enough to get disability. So if I do go private he will have to foot the bill, and given he’s already paying all the other bills…..

So yes, I’m stuck between a rock and hard place, with very few options, and STILL in pain!

Oh and while I’m on the subject, while it might seem terribly politically correct to refer to patients such as myself as “nervous”, I do wish they’d stop doing so. It’s patronising and frankly insulting. I’m NOT nervous, I’m bloody terrified!

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October 24, 2013 - Posted by | A Bit Of A Rant |

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