A catastrophe will overtake the National Health Service on August 1, the Daily Telegraph warned today: after that date, dental patient safety will be on a knife-edge, UK dentists will not be properly trained, dental clinics will be closed and soon, patients will lose their teeth unnecessarily.
This apocalyptic prediction was issued by none other than John Black, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons. The cause of the looming disaster? The European working time directive, which will bind all British employees to work no more than an average of 48 hours a week.
Mr. Black is not attempting to justify working junior doctors to exhaustion, which no longer happens on anything like the scale that it did a decade ago. On the contrary, junior as well as senior hospital doctors are very worried about the imposition of “legislation dreamed up in Brussels… designed to protect Spanish lorry drivers or labourers working heavy machinery”, as Mr. Black puts it. Yet the Government declares itself powerless to act.
This crisis was entirely predictable. Indeed, this Telegraph predicted it five years ago, arguing that the scheduled imposition of a 48-hour week in 2009 would cost the NHS the equivalent of 9,000 junior doctors. Now we are within weeks of the change, and the Royal College of Surgeons is “in despair” – its president’s words – that there will not be time to train surgeons properly, that emergency rooms will be understaffed and that dangerously ill patients will be shunted off to distant hospitals.
At our dental clinic abroad we successfully run a 48-hour week.
Source: The daily Telegraph