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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The insanity of the GDC

The GDC is doing nothing different but expecting different results, Michael Watson says. As I sat at yesterday’s General Dental Council (GDC) consultation, listening to its deliberations on next year’s annual retention fee (ARF), one quote kept going through my mind. Traditionally, though possibly not accurately, attributed to Einstein, it runs: ‘The definition of insanity … Continued

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What’s on the horizon for dentistry?

Michael Watson warns dentists to look at the black cab, restaurant and hotel industries to see what could be on the horizon. An article that caught my eye over the summer concerned French restaurant owners who are urging the Government to ban ‘meal-sharing’ websites. The site Vizeat allows French households to host home-cooked dinners allowing tourists … Continued

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DDRB starts examination over dentists’ pay

Michael Watson discusses the complications the DDRB, the BDA and the Department of Health will face when examining dentists’ pay. As the clocks go back, winter looms and the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) starts its examination of the evidence about dentists’ pay. Last week the British Dental Association (BDA) put in its bid for … Continued

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Using the In Practice Prevention programme to improve oral health

The creation of the In Practice Prevention programme is encouraging, Michael Watson says. News from Ireland last week that 10,000 children under 15 are being hospitalised every year for dental extractions under general anaesthetic struck a chord. Although the figures are reportedly five times higher than in the UK, we cannot be complacent at our … Continued

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Dementia – how much do you know?

Michael Watson discusses the changing needs of patients with dementia. A visit to an excellent symposium at the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK on dementia and oral health opened my eyes to how little I knew about a condition that may well affect many of us as we grow older. Much of our attention … Continued

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The inverse care law

Those that most need dental care are least likely to receive it, Michael Watson believes. My attention was recently drawn to a 1971 paper in The Lancet by Julian Tudor Hart (no I hadn’t heard of him before either). It was called ‘the inverse care law’ and suggested that those who most need medical care … Continued

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Michael Watson calls for a ‘rubber windmill’ exercise to test the prototype contracts

Is it time for another ‘rubber windmill’ exercise, this time to test the prototype contracts to destruction, Michael Watson asks. No I am not losing my marbles; there was such an exercise carried out in 1990 to test the then novel purchaser/provider system for delivering NHS care. It was commissioned by the late Alasdair Liddell … Continued

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Dentists’ earnings drop

Michael Watson discusses the latest figures showing how dentists’ earnings have dropped. The headline figures on dental earnings (for 2013/14) released last week were that net incomes for practice owners in England and Wales had fallen by 21% in real terms since 2008 – from £145,800 to £115,200 – with associates experiencing a 19.6% drop, … Continued

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The GDC should stop acting as a complaints service

Someone in authority should tell the GDC to stick to its job, says Michael Watson. Last week this site published an excellent article by Jeff Sherer, where he said that ‘the GDC should only investigate the initial complaint and not sift through clinical records to find something to stick’. I couldn’t agree more, but the … Continued

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Michael Watson posts an open letter response to Barry Cockcroft

Michael Watson responds to Barry Cockcroft’s recent comments on NHS England figures for dentistry. Dear Barry, I read with some surprise your article on this website last week, but was not so surprised at the vituperative reaction both here and on other social media sites that it prompted. In particular your statement that the report … Continued

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The antibiotics dilemma

Michael Watson discusses the growing concern of antimicrobial resistance, and the growing pressure on dentists to prescribe antibiotics. The health story that seems to have engaged the media last week was headlined in one paper as: ‘Soft touch doctors should be disciplined for over-prescribing antibiotics’. GPs say they feel pressurised to write 10 million prescriptions of antibiotics … Continued

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Number of female dentists up by 44.2% since the start of the NHS contract

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (www.hscic.gov.uk) has published its annual NHS Dental Statistics for England. This covers patients seen (up to June 2015), courses of treatment provided during 2014/15, most performed treatments and numbers of dentists working in the NHS. A total of 30 million patients were seen in the 24 month period … Continued

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Stopping the GDC

Healthcare regulators, including the GDC, need a radical overhaul of how they operate, Michael Watson believes. Last week the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which oversees the health regulatory authorities, including the General Dental Council (GDC), published a critical report of how professional regulation is carried out in this country. It said: ‘If regulation was going … Continued

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What’s wrong with UDAs?

NHS England needs to tell dentists exactly what it wants for its UDAs, Michael Watson believes. What’s wrong with UDAs (units of dental activity)? Don’t all shout at once, because this week I am looking at it from the point of view of the commissioner, NHS England, rather than the providers, dentists. Outsourcing My train … Continued