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May 6, 2018

UK gripped by dental crisis


May 6, 2018

LONDON: Leading Pakistani dentist Dr Ashiq Ghauri has said that Britain is gripped by a dental crisis and successive governments have failed to deal with the problem.

In an interview, the veteran British Pakistani doctor, who has been practising for nearly 40 years now in London, said that the crisis is so big that for around 1100 patients there is only one doctor available to treat them. He said that Britain didn’t face a situation like this ever before. Dr Ghauri, who trained in Pakistan before coming to the UK, is amongst the senior most British Pakistani dentists in Britain, and known nationally for his expertise. He regularly addresses professional events on issues being faced by the National Health Service (NHS) and its effects on the patients seeking care from the dentists. Dr Ghauri said that there is shortage of dentist across Europe but Britain is worst affected and “the government has no solution and no vision to deal with this crisis”.

“The government thinks it can deal with the problem through cuts in budget, cuts in number of skilled professionals and cuts in the staff and that’s creating more problems rather than resolving anything. Dental patients with dental pain are overdosing on painkillers because they are unable to access professional treatment as there is waiting time of months and it seems no one cares,” said Dr Ghauri. He said the problem is linked with the government’s obsession with immigration. “Overseas doctors are not coming anymore to the UK, the number has reduced sharply because the government has brought in harsh immigration rules for skilled migrants and professional entry tests have been made almost impossible to pass. So many strict exam rules have been introduced not to improve standards but to make sure that the fresh intake is stopped,” said Dr Ghauri.

He said that those who manage to pass exams are unable to find workplace because of the problems created by the government. “Many of these doctors have left for Middle Eastern countries where pay scale is good and dentists are in demand. Lives are at risk in the UK but the government has no interest in dealing with these problems. Its obsession is with the number of immigration. It has failed to invest in both routine and emergency dental care which is jeopardising appropriate diagnosis and treatment. This has heaped pressure across the NHS.”

Dr Ghauri said that newly qualified and young dentists are leaving the NHS and going abroad or switching profession which is alarming. He said the fact that millions of Brits are unable to access their local NHS dentist because they were not accepting new patients, should worry the government and the NHS managers but this doesn’t seem to government’s priority.

Dr Ghauri said that currently there are around 1100 British Pakistani dentists who are serving patients but new Pakistani dentists are not coming over due to immigration rules. “Ethnic minorities formed nearly 40 percent of the NHS at one stage.

Most of the staff was Indians, Afro-Carribeans, Pakistanis and others but now dentists from Europe are being brought in. The focus on European dentists has worsened the situation.”

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