May 22, 2005
Most Americans know British dentistry is bad. Not many know how bad:
The part-time cleaner who told Tony Blair that the collapse of health service dentistry had forced her to extract her own teeth said that she felt “let down and angry” to learn that a team of Polish dentists, flown in to relieve the crisis, had spent months on full pay without treating patients.
Valerie Holsworth, 65, who confronted the Prime Minister during a live television broadcast with a graphic account of how she had pulled out seven of her teeth - some with her husband’s pliers - spoke out after it emerged that only one of four dentists recruited to work in North Yorkshire, a black spot for NHS dental treatment, had been given a full-time position. The remaining three spent two months on “gardening leave”, during which time they were paid their full £48,000-a-year salaries, before being given limited work.
Holsworth lives in Scarborough, where last year 300 people lined up at dawn to register when a new National Health Service dental practice opened for business.
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