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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Dental manpower crisis

Direct access and more therapists are required to solve the staffing crisis in dentistry, Michael Watson says. At the end of last week, the Home Office announced that doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap on skilled worker visas. There will therefore be no restriction on the numbers of doctors and nurses … Continued

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Just how bad does it have to get?

Michael Watson details exactly what’s going wrong in NHS dentistry and what the Government needs to do to resolve it. Over the past year we have observed a war of words over NHS dentistry, in Parliament, the media including national and local newspapers, the dental press and social media. The reaction of Government has been to … Continued

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Pressure builds on Government over sugar

Stronger action is required if the nation is to tackle the childhood obesity and tooth decay crisis, Michael Watson says. Last week two events caught my eye, in reference to childhood obesity and tooth decay. The first was a report from Public Health England on progress, or rather lack of it, in achieving its target set … Continued

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Has outsourcing had its day?

The 2006 dental contract doesn’t work from a financial and business structure, Michael Watson says. Last week dental news was dominated by the BDA Conference and Dentistry Show, which according to all I read did fantastically well. I excused myself and am thus in no position to comment. News outside dentistry was of course dominated … Continued

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A reason to smile

Lets support dentistry’s brand, the smile, and get behind National Smile Month, Michael Watson says. So here we are, beginning of National Smile Month, and some clever researchers come up with the idea that smiling makes you look older. According to a report in The Times the ‘misconception’ that smiling makes people look younger is … Continued

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Are dental associates really self employed?

Why aren’t associate dentists classed as employed, Michael Watson questions. Last week’s blog by Alun Rees on this site discussed ‘the evolving status of associates’ with HMRC. He rightly said: ‘Observing work patterns of many NHS associates, I struggle to justify their status as truly self-employed’ and I agree with him. Employed or self employed? … Continued

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NASDAL figures – are dentists overpaid?

Michael Watson questions whether the BDA is ‘crying wolf’ over the pay of dental practice owners. The annual NASDAL (National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers) Benchmarking Report is a ‘must’ for anyone who wishes to comment on dentists’ pay. This year’s event took place last week at BDA headquarters in London and I went … Continued

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Sugar advertising ban now more likely

We are long overdue action from the Government to tackle obesity and in turn child decay, Michael Watson says. According to a report in The Times recently, Mrs May is preparing for a U-turn on obesity, with curbs on junk food adverts and two-for-one deals for biscuits and cakes. If true this will be welcomed, … Continued

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Patient charges being increased

An increase in patient charges could encourage dentists to take on more children, Michael Watson says. Late last Friday, the Department of Health and Social Care sneaked out news about rises in patients’ charges, not through a ministerial statement as is usual, but obscurely through changes to ‘The National Health Service (Dental Charges) (Amendment) Regulations 2018’. Perhaps … Continued

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Hygienists and therapists should be able to prescribe medicines

Why can’t dental health professionals supply and administer specified medicines under ‘exemptions’, Michael Watson questions. At a study day in Manchester this weekend, dental hygienists and therapists were discussing direct access and changes to the regulations to allow them to prescribe certain medicines, so called ‘exemptions’ for these two professionals, giving them an opportunity to … Continued

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Time for a sugar tax rethink

Money raised by the sugar tax should be invested in oral health strategies, not encouraging physical activity, Michael Watson says. Earlier this month the ‘sugar tax’ regulations were debated in the House of Commons. Or to be precise the Draft Soft Drinks Industry Levy (Enforcement) regulations 2018, were passed into law. They will take effect … Continued

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LDC chair leaves dental prototypes

After the Department of Health launched the fourth wave of prototypes, Michael Watson reflects on how reforming the dental contract is going. Last week the LDC Conference chairman, Joe Hendron, published an open letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, outlining his reasons for withdrawing his practice from the Dental Reform Programme … Continued

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Could this be the time for water fluoridation in Hull?

With water fluoridation currently being discussed in Westminster, Michael Watson wonders whether the campaign for Hull might have a different ending to what happened in Southampton. Speaking at the publication of the Teeth Team Annual Report in Westminster last month, the Rt Hon Alan Johnson, former Secretary of State for Health, championed the cause of water … Continued

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‘Dire’ child oral health statistics for England

With new figures reinforcing the poor oral health statistics in England amongst children, Michael Watson calls for the Government to be held to account. The statistics on child oral health in England are dire, as I have frequently said in these blogs. The number one reason why a child aged five to nine enters hospital … Continued

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What should the BDA’s GDPC be fighting for?

After the latest re-elections for the BDA’s GDPC, Michael Watson looks at what it should be campaigning for this year. First of all, congratulations to Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen on his re-election to the chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC). The picture of his executive committee, which appeared on the BDA’s website, did look a bit middle-aged, … Continued