Sunday, 17 June 2018

Teeth at the Wellcome Collection

This weekend my inner geek was satisfied when I got to explore the new Teeth exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London. 

The exhibition, which has been open since 17th May, was inspiring by Richard Barnett's The Smile Stealers (a copy of which I grabbed from the gift shop afterwards and I'll be sure to blog about once I've finished!). 

There were over 150 objects on display from letters to the Toothfairy to historic dental chairs. I was surprised how busy the exhibition to be honest... Teeth are pretty niche! 

Dental chair of the mid 20th century
Below: Phantom heads used to be a little bit creepier and Public Health messages still sound pretty familiar today! 

As well as objects, there were interactive displays which showed public health videos promoting oral health from America and the UK post war. The exhibition displayed the history of dentistry, the development of dentistry through the NHS as well as current practices and issues with oral health such as the child GA crisis for tooth extractions. 

One of my favourite parts was the display of letters to the tooth fairy from real patients! I would definitely recommend the exhibition and the Wellcome collection in general which I have previously visited several times. Their gift shop is definitely one of the best museum gift shops in London!

The exhibition runs until the 16th of September so make sure you don't miss out! To find out more visit the Wellcome Collection

Have you visited Teeth? Which was your favourite object? Let me know in the comments below. 

Friday, 8 June 2018

The State of the Nation: BDA AR Conference

Back in May, I attended the national BDA Accredited Rep Conference. This blog post is based on a talk by Martin Jones at the conference. 

So what is the state of our nation and NHS....?

70 years anniversary of the NHS!

Our national pride and envy of the world.... our National Health Service was 70 years old this year! Something to celebrate? So if it's been going on this long, there must be something going right?

The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world since it's inception in 1948. But how will the NHS survive the following challenges?

Hypothecated Tax

Hypothecated tax is a tax collected solely to fund the NHS. This would be an additional tax for the public to pay and in general, there has been widespread support for it not only within the public, but also across political parties.

The only resistance is the treasury who would be responsible for collecting the tax. Is this something that will be enforced in the future?

Brexit and Employment Challenges

We are facing a recruitment crisis within the NHS which is down to many reasons:
  • Fewer nurses in training due to removal of bursaries
  • There are more leavers than joiners within the NHS
  • Brexit may have an impact with again more EU leavers than joiners
  • We have an aging workforce, with senior staff approaching retirement age without a younger generation to replace them
  • Nurses are being pulled off research, special projects and admin work to plug clinical gaps

Accountable Care Organisations

These organisations (previously STPs) are local organisations who ally together to collaborate in delivering health and social care rather than compete. These can include hospitals, community organisations, GPs or third sector organisations. They lead in commissioning and work with local authorities in improving health and social care. These can potentially sit across a large geographical area.  


Increasingly in the NHS private companies are delivering services across many sections. This includes for profit organisations (e.g. Virgin) and also Social Enterprises (see a previous blog post to find out more about Social Enterprises). 

Private companies have increased from 7.3% to 7.7% of the health and social care budget this year. The increase has mostly been in community and mental health services, which includes the community dental services. Many CDS services are run by social enterprises or private companies (CDS CIC, Virgin etc.) Is this a good thing? I'm not sure, but it is certainly a change which we need to adapt to. 

AFC Pay Rise

The Agenda for Change (AFC) unions have recently agreed to the offer of pay increase the department for health have suggested. The BDA and BMA are also negotiating for a pay increase so us dentists will have to watch this space!

What challenges do you think the NHS is facing in modern times? What do you encounter working in the NHS? Let me know in the comments below. 

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