Sunday, 23 July 2017

Two and a half thousand pounds

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I remember as a child in the 70’s going to the local hospital to visit my grandfather. There were no parking charges and the trolley lady offered visitors a free cup of tea, or squash for the children as she did her daily patient round. Those days are long gone, as well as that local hospital. I’ve got accustomed to paying for the fringes of the N.HS like parking, and now the tea lady has been replaced by a Costa Coffee, but I’ve always seen it as a small price to pay if it helps to keep the National Health Service functioning as a free at use service.

But as Mary, one of the lead characters in my Daniel Jones series of books always likes to say, ‘there is always a but in life’, and this month’s but was a visit to the dentist. For the last five years during every regular check-up one of my children has been informed that they would eventually need braces once their final baby tooth has been taken away by the tooth fairy. Just before their thirteenth birthday this duly happened and after being on the waiting list for eight months we finally got an appointment.

We turned up at the appointed time and place and I sat in with my child as the orthodontist examined their mouth. I was then informed that the said child could do with a brace, and this is the but, but that the government has now classified this type of work as being cosmetic and it is no longer covered by the N.H.S for children, but we could pay for it! Then came the even bigger but, all £2500 to £3500 pounds worth of buts. Yes, the receptionist informed me it would cost at least two and a half thousand pounds to get braces for my child!

We have asked for a second opinion and have a date booked for early October with another Dentist surgery. One thing has been playing on my mind, when I first tried to book the initial appointment I was told there could be up to a year wait. When I enquired why it would take so long I was told by the receptionist that the company (community dentistry are private firms in the U.K) was only allocated so much money each half to carry out a limited amount of such work so when it was used up you then had to wait for the next trance. I have been wondering if maybe the dentist I was sent to had used up their quota and were thus trying to push me into paying for it instead of putting our child into the next allocation of funds! 

I was left flabbergasted by the whole experience. Are Parents in the future with children born with cleft lips going to be told that they have to pay because it’s only cosmetic! Or are children born with a missing limb going to be told they will have to pay for any prosthetics because it’s only cosmetic? Either way, it's just another example of how things have been changing and not necessarily for the better. It was an underlying theme of my first book FRENZY a Daniel Jones Story. I first got the inspiration when the government equalized the retirement age for women and men, and then increased it to sixty-six years before you could claim. Now it's been increased to sixty-eight for my wife which means I will be seventy-four before we can enjoy our state pension together. As life expectancy for men is seventy-three years (and especially as I've not only burnt the candles at both ends in my life, but also cut that candle in half and burnt those ends as well) I may never get to see that day. Just like Daniel Jones when he finds out the truth about his ruling class and the Achievement Centres, I get the feeling I am being lied too as well. 

Maybe the 1970’s weren’t so bad after all!