There was a point at which there were no NHS dentists north of Inverness. Mercifully, this has changed, although many in Caithness travel as far as Helmsdale or Golspie: for a period, I was making do with my old dentist in Edinburgh.
When it was acquired in 2006 by husband and wife team, Drs. John and Janey Murray, the transfer of the Bridgend Health Care Centre surgery to sole private practice garnered a lot of ill-feeling; and many elected to transfer to Sutherland-based practices instead.
Now, the John o’Groat Journal reports that the practice (known as Smile Solutions since early 2010) has been forced into bankrupcy by HM Customs over an unpaid tax bill. The futures of all 10 employees – three dentists, four nurses and three clerical staff – looks bleak.
Smile Solutions also has a Portree practice, headed by Dr. Janey Murray. Its prospects will be affected by how the Thursopractice fairs.
Dr. John Murray said:
“We suffered badly as a result of the global economic downturn when the value of our investments was wiped out. As a consequence, we have lost our savings, pension and are likely to lose our home.
A lot of us (albeit the many less well-off, as opposed to the few filthy-rich) took prat-falls during the Crash, so I sympathize. Yet, for a private dentist with a captive market such as North Scotland to go bankrupt would take some doing.
Investment in the stock market and hedge funds is not inherently wrong. In my experience, the more likely an observer is to lambast this capitalist mayhem, the more likely they are to be comfortably well-off: capitalism certainly works for for them.
It was the unacceptable face of rentierism such as Icelandic banks, as warned by by the hedge fund maestro George Soros, and belief that endless money could come from no effort or risk which caused the problems.