Michael Watson

Michael Watson

Author at Dentistry Online

Michael Watson qualified 50 years ago and started his career in the Royal Army Dental Corps. Retiring in 1979 he set up a general dental practice in Manningtree. In the 80s he became secretary of the GDPA and was the first editor of its journal the General Dental Practitioner. Moving to the BDA in 1991 he spent the rest if his career as a political adviser and editing BDA news. Since retiring he has continued writing and is a regular contributor to dentistry.co.uk and Dentistry magazine along with being the news correspondent for both. Michael now spends more time at a time-share on Gran Canaria and reducing the kid’s inheritance on cruise ships.
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Stress and patient care

Is the pressure and stress regulators place on dental professionals actually improving patient care, Michael Watson questions. A recent article in the Daily Telegraph caught my eye as it gave a fresh perspective on the increasing levels of regulation that all who work in healthcare, whether NHS or private, experience. Dentists, not unnaturally, tend to … Continued

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Oral health of older people

Michael Watson reports on the recent Government debate on the oral health of elderly people. Away from the endless debates and votes on Brexit and the bear-pit that is Prime Minister’s Questions, MPs can make a valuable contribution to holding the Government to account. One such device is the so-called Adjournment Debate, held for half an … Continued

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Brexit – what’s next for dentistry?

With Government Brexit plans up in the air, Michael Watson explains how the turmoil is affecting dentistry. Unless you were cast away on a desert island, you can hardly be unaware that last night in the House Commons, Theresa May’s EU Brexit deal was defeated by a record 230 votes. Senior EU figures have said … Continued

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NHS England’s 10-year plan

There is nothing radical for NHS dentistry included in NHS England’s Long Term Plan, Michael Watson says. As I ploughed my way through NHS England’s Long Term Plan for the next 10 years, an obscure news story from the north of England came to mind. It was reported that a lack of successful bidders has meant a … Continued

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What’s the plan?

The BDA should put together a fully-costed alternative option for a new NHS contract, Michael Watson says. The problems for patients in finding a practice able to see them has now reached Twitter. Last week Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, was quoted as saying on BBC Look North: ‘The closure … Continued

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Cancer patients and patient charges

Providing free dental treatment to oral cancer patients should not be an issue of cost-effectiveness, Michael Watson says. Last week the Oral Health Foundation called for free dental care for mouth cancer patients ‘to combat the discriminatory costs of ongoing healthcare that survivors are often burdened with’. It said that following cancer treatment, patients are faced with long-term … Continued

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Two opinions on the NHS

NHS dentistry should be made up of private and Government funding, Michael Watson argues. Two opinion pieces of significance crossed my radar last week, not on dentistry specifically, but on the NHS in general. One was from Roy Lilley, a well-known commentator, who describes himself as the NHS’s biggest cheer leader. He described the week … Continued

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NHS needs to take action on oral cancer

If the NHS really wants to tackle oral cancer, it needs to decisive action, Michael Watson says. November is the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Month, and it was officially launched last week at the House of Commons. More than 75 people from across 40 organisations attended the event sponsored in Parliament by Sir Paul … Continued

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Thoughts on the Christie & Co report

Money raised from clawback should go straight back into dentistry and not used to prop up other areas of the NHS, Michael Watson says. Last week Dentistry.co.uk reported on the launch by Christie & Co of its first report on the UK dental market, covering pay rates and staff shortages, which is to be reviewed … Continued

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The NHS cannot do everything for everyone

The Government needs to be honest with the public and say NHS dentistry cannot do everything for everyone, Michael Watson says. ‘Government is quietly shifting costs of public services on to individuals. ‘Where Government can get people to pay directly for services – from garden waste to legal aid – it is increasingly doing so.’ These … Continued

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Disillusionment sets in early for young dentists

Older members of the dental profession should do more to protect young graduates entering dentistry, Michael Watson says. Last week Dentistry.co.uk published an article headlined: ‘Dentistry degrees offer best value for money’. It said that a Yougov survey found that 62% of students believe the standard of education and wages graduates earn don’t warrant the … Continued

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What are the facts about FICTION?

Michael Watson explains what happened at the BSPD conference and the findings of the FICTION trial. Last week’s conference of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) in Dundee had been headlined as an opportunity to see the results of the FICTION (filling children’s teeth: indicated or not?) trial. Most of these were produced by … Continued

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BDA and its Benevolent Fund

What on earth is happening at the BDA, Michael Watson questions. Last week, as a member, I received an email from PEC chair, Mick Armstrong, about proposed changes to the Benevolent Fund’s rules, which he described as taking it away from its ‘democratic roots’, isolating it from its major supporters and potentially damaging its ability … Continued

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NHS dentistry in meltdown

There are not enough people working on dentistry at the Department of Health and Social Care, Michael Watson says. Recently this site published a story about the thousands of patients who cannot see a dentist at the UK’s largest provider – Mydentist. It looks as though the NHS dentistry meltdown that I forecast in a blog six … Continued