Dental Tourism Raises Some Hare-Brained Schemes
It’s no secret that Britons have taken to dental tourism like fish to water, with thousands traveling to countries like Poland to take advantage of the lower costs of all kinds of dental procedures, ranging from implants to dental fillings.
By many accounts, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is severely understaffed, poorly managed, just plain messed up. Like other types of doctors, dentists too are in short supply and the funds needed to staff clinics around the country are just not available. This flight of patients to dental clinics abroad has been the subject of heated debate between the dental community on one hand, who waste no time painting grim scenarios of botched dental work conduced on such medical vacations aboard, and dental tourism operators on the other side who accuse British dentists of protecting their own interests. All this hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Britons who find the cost savings for even a minor dental filling is worth the flight to Warsaw.
Domestic Dental Tourism
The dental tourism trend has led to some comical business models being floated about. In one bizarre move, a British multi-millionaire coupled announced a plan to set up mobile dental clinics every 100 miles in Britain, to be staffed by, you guessed it, Eastern European dentists. The logic behind this plan is that it’s easier for citizens to visit Polish and Bulgarian dentists in their neighborhood, than it is to fly a few hundred miles to get their teeth fixed.
The couple actually plans to hire up to 1,800 dentists to implement this monstrous venture. I am not sure of the exact moment when it struck them that having a whole bunch of East European dentists driving around pulling a tooth here and filling up a cavity there was a less chaotic and cheaper alternative to having people fly to a foreign clinic to have dental work done. It’s also not clear where they plan to get the funding to actually put the idea into effect, unless they’re planning on dipping in to their own till. There don’t seem to be a lot of funding proposals coming their way, and the NHS medical and dentistry budget is already stretched way beyond its limit.
In any case, the lure of a vacation in a foreign land is not the main reason Britons fly abroad – it’s the savings on dental procedures that tempt them, which they won’t enjoy if they opt for treatment at home, whether in a brick and mortar clinic or a mobile van.