Actually, I think I've got something to rant about anyway. Why am I drinking today? Well, y'see, I went to the dentists, for the first time in, oh, about 5 years.
Y'see, I used to have no problems whatsoever with medical types. Then, slowly, in reaction to the Thatcher/Major reforms, most of the local dentists slowly went private. The practice I was a patient of since a kid did so, but promised it would always keep on an NHS dentist. Thing is, of course, if that dentist was any good, they'd, by dint of the crappy funding NHS dentistry gets these days, go private. They're good, they can make a lot more money that way.
So, those of us who either a) can't afford to pay for dentistry or b) believe in the principles of free health provision and that's what we pay our fucking taxes for, are increasingly squeezed to go to crappier and crappier dentists.
As I fall into both categories, I stayed with whatever dentist my practise could hire to do the NHS work. Until 5 years ago. The man was, to put it bluntly, a butcher. I'm honest, I don't look after my teeth that well, so every so often, I need a filling. He gave me a filling. Only I was convinced it hadn't taken well, so on the 6-months-later checkup, I told him this. It bled sometimes, and was sore. No, he says, perfectly fine, not a problem.
I was young, naive. I trusted the fucking professional, even if I already suspected he was crap. Patronising bastard as well; I was a mere shopworker when he became my dentist, therefore I couldn't have a brain, so he talked down to me constantly. Bastard.
About a year after this, the occasional bleeding and light pain in that tooth had become major bleeding and frequent heavy pain. I went back. He took the tooth out. I'm not joking or exaggerating when I say it was the most painful experience of my life, which is saying a bit. He said it wouldn't hurt with the anaesthetic, and there would be light pressure with the extraction. Lying fucking bastard. Light pressure. It hurt like hell. I had to sit in the surgery for about an hour afterwards, then drove carfeully to my parents, just down the road, and sat watching TV for hours getting my confidence back. I don't do vegging in front of the TV. Specifically, these days, I don't even watch TV.
The tooth? I got a look at it before he disposed of it. The filling was there, the outside edges of the tooth were there. The rest of it was hollow. Did I say he was fucking useless? Why yes, yes I did. Of course, back then, I didn't have the courage to follow up and complain properly; a well brought up young man does not do such things according to my mother. Now, it'd be different, but this butcher got away with it.
It did scare me off dentistry for some time though. My parents though, knowing this, signed themselves up with a new NHS dentist which is 20 minutes walk from my flat. They even bullied my sister into booking me an appointment. So, today, I went to see my nice new dentist. And she is nice. Rather pretty assistant too, think I may like going back.
5 years away from a dentist. 7 fillings needed, including one tooth that may be beyond repair.
Simple fucking principle Blair; you either believe in the NHS, and provide us with decent funding for our dentists, or you admit defeat and tell us all to go private. I'm paying my fucking taxes, and the NHS is supposed to provide me with decent dentistry. There are fuck all dentists that aren't private in Torbay, and from what I've heard it's the same across the country.
I believe in the principle of free health care. That's the fucking point. But the overly centralised bureacracy that can't provide a damn thing and doesn't fund denitistry that our teeth are the laughing stock of the West.
Blair? Either fix it, or be honest with us. I can get dental health insurance, but I shouldn't need to when I'm paying as much tax as I am.
I've (now) got a new dentist, she seems competent. I give it a year at most before she also goes private. She'd be daft not to, can't blame her. Blame the dishonest govts that are so out of touch they don't know there's a problem.