NHS dentistry problems
Not so free. Accessing NHS dentistry is so difficult that private dentistry is often the only option — and people brought up to expect “free” medical services are not prepared for the cost of that. So their teeth rot. And if they get to a NHS dentist he is likely to just yank the teeth rather than fill them or otherwise treat them. Hence the high incidence of gumminess. Gumminess is the sign of primitive dentistry
One in five patients has put off dental treatment because of the cost, official figures show. A quarter of people surveyed also said the price of having their teeth fixed had affected what treatment they chose.
The once-a-decade survey of more than 13,000 households by the Office for National Statistics found that 7 per cent of adults had been unable to make an appointment with an NHS dentist.
Meanwhile while 12 per cent were found to suffer “extreme anxiety” about having teeth drilled or receiving an injection in their gums.
However the poll also found that 10 per cent of adults had “excellent” oral health and the proportion with no natural teeth has fallen dramatically over the past 30 years.
Susie Sanderson, chairman of the British Dental Association’s Executive Board, said: “The overall improvement in oral health illustrated by the Adult Dental Health Survey makes for positive reading. However, the survey also makes clear that there is no room for complacency. It underlines the persistent oral health inequalities that we see in this country and the correlation between poor oral health and lower socio-economic status.”
She added: “These results also reinforce the findings of the BDA’s own research in highlighting the effect of the recession as a deterrent for some patients seeking dental care. While it’s understandable that patients’ financial anxieties are leading them to defer appointments and treatment, achieving short-term money savings at the expense of longer-term health problems really isn’t wise.”
The Adult Dental Health Survey 2009, which studied 13,400 households in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that 94 per cent had “at least one natural tooth”.
In 1978, 28 per cent of the population had none of their own teeth left and a decade earlier more than a third only had false teeth.
The report said that back then it would have been “unthinkable” that half of over-85s would still have some of their own teeth. “The transformation in the population’s oral health has been extensive.”
But 31 per cent of adults had “obvious tooth decay”, with the problem more prevalent among the working classes, and 9 per cent said their teeth were currently hurting.
In total 84 per cent of adults had at least one filling, 37 per cent had artificial crowns and almost one in five wore some sort of denture.
Only 75 per cent of adults said they brushed their teeth the recommended twice a day with 1 per cent claiming they never used a toothbrush.
Only 58 per cent had tried to book an NHS dental appointment in the past three years, and 7 per cent unable to do so.
Twenty-six per cent said the type of treatment they had opted to have had been affected by cost and 19 per cent said they had delayed treatment for the same reason
Countryside walks should be mandatory for British schoolchildren?
There could be something in this. Most kids would love it and things would be learned that you cannot get from a book
Kate Humble, the BBC wildlife presenter, wants visits to the countryside to be mandatory for schoolchildren and is to take the matter up with the Education Secretary. The Springwatch presenter, who will return to BBC Two next week with Lambing Live, said getting children excited about the countryside was vital for ensuring that it would be protected in the future.
She also dismissed the idea that urban children would be slow to embrace rural pursuits. “It should be obligatory for every schoolchild to experience the countryside,” said Humble. “There’s a fantastic RSPB reserve on the edge of Newport. I took a bunch of kids pond-dipping there recently. At first, they were all saying, ‘Whatever…’ But then one of them caught a stickleback, and such was the excitement, you’d have thought she had landed a 50lb salmon!
“Children are the future. If you give them access to the countryside, they’ll protect it. I’m going to be at [education secretary] Michael Gove about this – and I’m counting on you for help!”
Speaking to Radio Times, Humble said that the countryside is “great for your brain and great for your soul and great for your bum”.
Humble’s comments about the national curriculum echo the Rural Manifesto of the campaign group the Countryside Alliance, which calls for outdoor education to be a compulsory subject, as well as suggesting that fishing can successfully rehabilitate young offenders and calling for rural activities to be made accessible for disadvantaged children.
Jill Grieve, from the Countryside Alliance, said: “Kate is absolutely right. Getting outdoor education onto the National Curriculum is one of The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s main aims. We are in a farcical situation where many youngsters are so disconnected from the countryside and their food that they think that milk comes from Tesco and meat comes from a plastic wrapper. They also have no incentive to care about what happens to the countryside in the coming years. Given the opportunity to get out there and find out about nature children thrive – they love it and it also gives them confidence. We are certainly standing shoulder to shoulder with Kate on this issue – for education, conservation and good muddy fun, outdoor education is a must.”
The Countryside Alliance quotes statistics showing that fewer than 10 per cent of 7 to 11 year-olds spend time playing in places such as woodlands and heaths, and that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show a 40 per cent improvement in their symptoms when taking part in activities in green spaces.
British government to crack down on the ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers
Kenneth Clarke will today sound the death knell for ‘no win, no fee’ deals which encourage ambulance-chasing lawyers to pursue frivolous cases. Victorious solicitors will now have to take a share of the damages awarded, rather than claiming huge success fees.
The Justice Secretary will also raise the maximum damages which can be awarded in small claims courts from £5,000 to £15,000. Mr Clarke wants as many people as possible to settle civil disputes through this less bureaucratic system, where costs are kept to a minimum, or by mediation.
Lawyers are not always needed in small claims courts, and many ‘no win no fee’ solicitors do not operate in them because there is not enough money to be made.
Everybody lodging a civil claim for damages will be forced to consider mediation. A similar move is planned for divorce cases.
Mr Clarke will say the aim is to reverse a trend which has seen Britain become a ‘very, very legalistic and litigious’ society in which huge sums are paid to ‘fat cat’ lawyers.
Many of those in ‘no win, no fee’ deals claim success fees up to 100 per cent of legal costs at the expense of the person or organisation that loses. Some claims are more than 1,000 per cent of damages.
Campaigners say the payouts have had a ‘chilling’ effect on freedom of speech, forcing scientists, writers and newspapers to settle even flimsy libel accusations out of court rather than risk the huge costs of losing. NHS trusts have also been affected in this way.
In future, lawyers will take a share of the damages awarded to the winner – the same as in the U.S.
I WANT TO MAKE THE LAW EASIER… AND CHEAPER
By KENNETH CLARKE
For every sensible citizen of Middle England, resorting to the law has become something to dread.
Frivolous claims are brought against small firms; legal costs grow out of all proportion to the value of the damage done; fines are imposed but never collected.
Too often the system seems to create problems, rather than solving those which caused the dispute in the first place.
For most people, fighting a case, enforcing a contract or resolving a dispute with a neighbour means months of anxiety, hassle and delay. More often than not, the only certainty is that the bill, when it arrives, will be larger than expected.
Today I am announcing reforms which I hope will begin to tackle the compensation culture and restore a sense of proportion to our legal system.
First, we will encourage people to solve their disputes through formal mediation rather than heading straight to court with all the cost and time that entails.
Second, we will fix the ‘no win, no fee’ agreements which have made it so costly for businesses to defend spurious claims that they often pay out, even when they know they are in the right.
And third, we will put more cases into the quicker, cheaper small claims and county courts, keeping costs down even further.
I hope that one day, normal citizens will regard going to a lawyer as a sensible way of sorting out a dispute – not the expensive nightmare that people fear now. These reforms are the first important steps towards that goal.
This will be capped at 25 per cent of the damages awarded by the court.
Judges will be told to increase damages by 10 per cent to ensure that those who win still receive the money they deserve.
Lawyers will also be forced to reach an agreement with their clients before a case begins over how much of the damages they will receive if successful. It is hoped that, by making lawyers compete for business in this way, success fees will be driven down significantly.
The number of claims made by ambulance-chasing solicitors is likely to fall as defendants – freed from the threat of massive costs – become more likely to fight back.
Daytime television is packed with adverts for ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers. They encourage people who have had even minor accidents at work or in their car to pursue civil claims.
In a report last year, Lord Justice Jackson said there had been a huge rise in civil litigation costs. The fees awarded to lawyers were sometimes more than 1,000 per cent of damages, he said.
People making claims in clinical negligence cases and other incidents where they have suffered harm will be able to do so without fear of huge costs.
A judge will be able to put a ceiling on the amount they will be made to pay even if they lose. This is designed to prevent people who have been seriously wronged from being afraid to claim compensation.
The moves come after Mr Clarke this month announced a string of reforms to Britain’s defamation laws. In future, the rich and powerful will have to prove they have suffered or are likely to suffer ‘substantial harm’ from the words of their critics to sue successfully for libel.
A defence of ‘honest opinion’ would replace that of ‘fair comment’, meaning that it will be a defence against libel to establish that something was published responsibly, without malice and in the public interest.
Wrong to call a pedophile ‘a dirty scum pervert’?
“Up to a dozen [British] police officers are being investigated after making inappropriate comments on their Facebook sites.
Their remarks include comments about wanting to beat up rioting students and describing a suspected paedophile who flashed at children in a play area as `a dirty scum pervert’.
The comments were made by Essex policemen and women who apparently did not realise that their accounts could be read by members of the public.
They were reported by an unnamed man, who said last night: `Police officers are expected to maintain professional standards even when they are off duty – but this lot seem to have forgotten all that.’
The Essex Police professional standards department has launched an inquiry. `A number of officers have been given words of advice about their use of Facebook,’ a spokesman said.