Is it time to take the gamble and move away from the NHS, Alun Rees asks.

According to sources, Sara Hurley, the chief dental officer for England, has said: ‘There is about a 5% chance of a new NHS contract starting next year’.

This is hardly a surprise; even at the best of times governments have little or no time for dentistry.

With the passing of the third anniversary of the Brexit vote and chaos continuing in Westminster, interest in the affairs of a tiny minority of healthcare people who concentrate purely on teeth and gums is miniscule.

Rolling the dice

With the exception of the Cheltenham festival in March I never bet.

I might consider odds of 20 to one (5%) reasonable for a flutter, and fun at the Gold Cup, but definitely not if I was risking my business and my family’s future prosperity.

In casinos, the house, like the racing bookmaker, always wins; in dentistry it could be that the banks may well start to fear losing.

Some of us have witnessed this before and it’s not pretty.

The past dozen years has seen the pips squeezed out of the workforce in many ways and recently some large owners have walked away to reduce losses.

Others try to up sell private dentistry to their NHS base; not easy with the tiger of a contract by the tail and deskilled, frightened associates.

Isn’t it time for some soul searching and honesty from the profession?

In 1992, my colleagues in Gloucestershire said: ‘Enough is enough’.

We knew that we could not practise the way that we wanted with a third party calling the shots and setting the rules.

Dentistry is hard enough, but when facing a loaded deck, it’s impossible.

The leap was terrifying, but the best thing that most of us did.

Or would you rather play against the government with loaded dice?


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