• Noel Bowen

Noel's Political Progress Blog

Hello and welcome to the first in a series of blogs I will be posting on the work of LASC LDCs with our local MPs to tackle the current Dental Crisis. My name is Noel Bowen - I am a GDP in Nelson, and have been interested in politics for a long time. This was probably started by my dad making my watch ‘yes minister’ and Rory Bremner, still there are worse things to watch, and the fact that I like to discuss topics - or as my wife and family say, argue. I find it fascinating that even though ‘yes minister’ is 40 years old it still rings true today. However, despite this seemingly steadfast status quo things do change and progress, it just takes time and effort. So let me start with by asking a few crucial questions…

  • Who here is fed up with the UDA and the “new” 2006 dental contract?

  • Who here wants to change NHS dentistry for the better, for the patients, the profession and yes even the government?

I truly hope that the answer to these questions is EVERYONE!!!

We as a group of LDCs have become ever more concerned with the collapsing morale of the NHS dental team; Dentists and Nurses, Hygienists and Therapists, Practice Managers and at the frontline our reception teams who have seemed particularly under fire. It is simply no longer enough to sit down with the local commissioners and share our frustrations of how we are treated from on high. The late communications, the lack of long-term vision, the dictats of imposed targets without proper communications, the ever-increasing patient charges whilst central government puts in less and less money in real terms, and most of all the extinguishing of any glimmer of hope on the horizon with the collapse of the contract reform program and thrust of the prototype practices back into the loathed UDA system.

It IS unfair to bring all these concerns to the local commissioners - they often have the same frustrations as us. They too are powerless to change fundamental flaws in the NHS Dental Service. So, we have decided we need to go to the source of the problem - the government, through our local MPs irrespective of their political affiliation. This problem is bigger than party lines and parties have presided over this collapse by repeatedly kicking reform down the road. It’s time the nettle was finally grasped, and the public levelled with about what is realistically on offer.

The UK constitution is like no other in the world and although it does have faults it does have one massive advantage over other systems: local representation (otherwise known as a member of parliament). We elect MPs to represent our interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and can propose new laws as well as raising issues that matter to you in the House. This includes asking government ministers questions about current issues; those problems faced by their constituents. This means everyone in the country has a local voice in the heart of government.

With this in mind we have encouraged everyone via the website to contact your local MPs to express your concerns about the NHS dental system;

LASC LDC MP letter

Don't wait - get your voice heard!

Noel Bowen

LASC LDC Political Relations Lead