What does Brexit Mean for Dentistry?

Firstly, DON’T PANIC. Nothing has happened yet. We have at least two years of formal negotiations before Article 50 is enacted. And President Juncker (the recalcitrant Belgian Commissioner who didn’t budge an inch even when we were a member of the club) and Frau Merkel some considerable posturing to do to ensure that the European Domestic market looks tough.

In reality there are more Citroens, Mercedes, Audis and BMW’s on our streets than UK cars. As a result, tit-for-tat measures will swell our coffers with the levies imposed, and trade with our continental cousins won’t grind to a halt. We will continue to eat fois gras washed down with Chateau D’Yquem, whatever it costs. As the CEO of Weatherspoon’s confessed, he only just discovered that he pays a levy of 1% on South African wines and was wholly unaware of any effect on sales.

However, perceived threats and scaremongering are already influencing academic institutions. For the last 30 years European finance has been supporting 20% of research in Britain’s universities and 17% of research fellows are Europeans. Recently, a high-flying professorial candidate turned down an offer a week after his interview because the university could no longer guarantee the generous European funding that had come with the job. He has since accepted an appointment in the US.

The brain drain of the sixties springs to mind. Our shrinking undergraduate programmes actually led to a drought of qualified candidates to fill posts in general practice.

Many European dentists found the opportunity to fill these gaps in the UK highly attractive, with little red tape to hinder their escape from the economic mess of their own irresponsibly-run nations. We now have representatives from across Europe working in dental practices, some of whom display a level of linguistic competence sufficient only to buying a loaf of bread. The engagement of cheaper European colleagues has also enabled opportunistic corporates to keep costs down whilst mopping up lucrative NHS contracts. I look forward to watching them struggle to pay proper salaries to our homegrown graduates.

I suspect that Dentistry UK Plc will rekindle relationships with its colonial cousins and we’ll see a new influx of English-speaking Canadian, Indian and Antipodean practitioners.

Perhaps some clever dick at the Department of Health will finally realise that NHS dentistry should be confined to salaried dental officers supported by barefoot dental auxiliaries from the Portsmouth school attending the truly needy, leaving the rest of us to pay directly for a quality service.

I envisage other member states following suit and exiting before too long. They will realise that the EU only represented the political ambitions of Federalists and made no economic sense whatsoever, especially when new members fudged their fiscal figures to join the Euro club.

I also foresee the misguided Scots committing seppuku with their claymore of misguided political ambition. The Celts last begged for membership of our own Union in a hostile merger on the first of May 1707 when they were last economically bankrupt.

Yes. I admit it. I was, and continue to be, a Brexiteer. When I visit France, 80% of the cars on the roads are Citroens and Renaults. When I go to Italy, 90% of the cars are Fiat. It’s not xenophobia, it’s patriotism. We should all sit more comfortably knowing we won’t be accountable to a German President of Europe with a Frenchie as VP. After all, it was just a plot to re-unite two dysfunctional Germanies. Even that stubborn pompous old Charles de Gaulle objected to Blighty ever joining on account of her innate independence, the very characteristic which drove the jackboots from his yard.

What comes around, goes around…

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