In the long and growing list of life chores I would rather not do – defleaing the cat, paying the credit card demand, cooking liver – a visit to the dentist comes near the top.
It’s not that I am afraid of discomfort, although a scrape and polish is hardly a laugh-a-minute, but I resent the time the whole process takes.
Getting an appointment is a chore. No, the receptionist tells me, they don’t do Saturdays. Or late nights. Or early mornings for that matter.
Securing an unscheduled appointment is impossible and it’s expensive, because ours is not an NHS dentist.
It’s all about as much fun as, well, a toothache.
But I go, as does my husband and my kids, because you have to. The alternative is bad breath and black gnashers and once in the chair the dentist is actually lovely.
We’re lucky, though; we can pay those bills. Lots of other people can’t.
A new report this week has found there were 30,000 fewer free dental treatments carried out in Liverpool last year.
The British Dental Association claims low income patients are turning away from NHS dentistry ‘in droves’ due to the Government’s aggressive approach in stopping ineligible patients. In short, people are not seeking treatment over fears they will be fined for a wrongful claim.
But then that’s what happens when a Government ad campaign uses the slogan “don’t assume you’re entitled”. And when people get slapped for £100 simply because they’ve ticked the wrong box on a form.
The BDA talks about a ‘hostile environment’ being created by ministers for vulnerable and those on low incomes.
Has this simply happened by accident? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Perhaps with the parlous state of the NHS you can’t blame the government for trying to claw back some cash. And of course those who can afford to pay should.
But it’s a disgrace that those who can’t – the weakest, the most vulnerable – should be made to suffer.
VISITING a city centre office the other day, a woman walked past, her coat wrapped around her shoulders.
Odd, I thought. It wasn’t exactly cracking the flags outside but it was fairly mild. A big padded number seemed a bit extreme.
Turns out the air-con where she sits is set several degrees below perishing. Her male colleagues, meanwhile, don’t notice the icy blast one bit.
But then they’re in suits.
Who knew that air-con was a feminist issue?
First published in Liverpool Echo, 8 September 2018