What is it like to practise dentistry in the UK today? Is there a sense of confidence in the way the profession is going or is there something wrong?
I believe that there are grave problems with both the General Dental Council and the National Health Service. Many dentists work in the NHS and all dentists are subject to the jurisdiction of the GDC. In recent years the dental profession has coped with a host of regulatory issues exemplified by the birth and rule of the Care Quality Commission. At the same time the GDC has become a destructive influence in dentistry
The GDC attacks the patient-dentist relationship, which is the core of dental practice. Dentists today, struggle to make fair clinical decisions in fear of engendering trivial complaints and unwarranted disciplinary proceedings. These circumstances and my own personal experience of them compelled me to write an account of the situation and the need for major reform (1).
Since publication of my article (1) I have: a) tried to meet the chair of the GDC, b) reviewed and presented my findings on the GDC's progress document ("Moving Upstream") to the twelve members of the GDC council, c) attended GDC disciplinary hearings and d) communicated with the Professional Standards Authority which has a regulatory role over the GDC.
A new base at the BDA will give me a strong platform to progress this cause. With the help of members we will find ways forward towards dialogue with the GDC and in investigating its accountability. We will turn whatever stone needs to be turned in the quest for fair play in the dental surgery!
Please vote for me to join the Principal Executive Committee of the BDA, to help bring about grassroots reform of the GDC. We need to establish a sense of justice and fair play in the dental surgery. We are fighting for the most basic right of any qualified dentist i.e. the right to do the best she/he can for a patient. I believe that I am the best candidate to help achieve that.
At the bottom line today's dentist pays a hefty fee to support a regulatory body that is curtailing the profession's right to do its job. This must not continue!
1. Bishop MA. The patient-dentist relationship and the future of dentistry. Br Dent J 2018; 225:1059-1062.
Do you want someone to represent you who is prepared to put in any amount of hard work and who has the conviction to speak out passionately and effectively FOR YOU? I am confident I can do this and would really appreciate your vote.
My name is Sarah Canavan and I graduated as a dentist from the Royal London Hospital in 1995 and subsequently obtained a MSc in Pain Management from Edinburgh University in 2007. I have been lucky enough to work in various areas of the dental profession starting as a dental nurse while paying my way through University, spending a large chunk of my career as a Senior Dental Officer in the SDS in various locations and for the last 9 years as a dental associate in NHS/Private practice. Much like the rest of my colleagues I’m sure I spend the majority of my time at work worrying about the direction our profession is going in and what the future holds for us as dentists. I reached a point where expressing my concerns to my peers was not enough and I wanted to be in a position where I could actually have an impact on our working lives. That’s why I joined the GDPC Associates Group and the Northamptonshire LDC and have found both positions really rewarding on a personal and team level. What it has done is whetted my appetite to help more. I have spent the majority of my career plodding along and accepting change but enough is enough. It's time to help make positive changes for me and all my colleagues on a wider platform. That's why I'm asking to join the PEC
My name is Wendy Chandrachud and I am currently a Consultant Oral Surgeon at the Edinburgh Dental Institute.
I qualified in 1991 from Glasgow University Dental Hospital and School and have worked within the field of Oral Surgery in Secondary care, Independent Practice and within the Public Dental Service [CDS] .I have experience of both private and NHS terms and conditions.
As a result of 28 years experience and my husband working in General Practice, I have developed an understanding of the challenges we face as individuals and as a profession.
I wish to be nominated for the PEC in order to serve and support my colleagues by ensuring an association which is supportive, pro active, forward thinking, answerable to its members and responsive to their concerns.
The PEC should be diverse in nature to reflect the profession as a whole and ensure matters pertinent to its members are met. I would hope to contribute to this diversity and bring a fresh approach moving forwards.
Please consider me when you cast your vote for the National Seat of the BDA Principal Executive Committee of the BDA.
I have been active locally in Birmingham LDC for the past 30 years ,since opening a Specialist practice in Orthodontics in South Birmingham in 1984. The last 12 months have been the most stressful of my practicing career with the potential for a lifetime’s work lost at the whim of a procurement process, unfit for purpose. I have seen many colleagues of high regard lose their livelihoods and contracts in the South and London, where new entrants to the market are deemed better due to a paper exercise ,than established quality providers ,well respected by their referring GDPs.
I have served nationally on BOS Committees also .
I wish to bring an alternate voice to the PEC, a committee that needs diversity and female members to better reflect the changing profession and a view different from those predominant GDPs.
I feel I have the capacity to help lead the BDA through these tempestuous times in Dentistry and work alongside colleagues to form a body capable of fighting back against the many issues we all face.
Please Vote for me. Gillian
I graduated from Newcastle University in 1991 and undertook Vocational Training in Central London before it became compulsory. I worked as an associate in London until 1998, and then moved to York .
In 2003 I bought my first practice in the small North Yorkshire town of Pickering with three surgeries. This was expanded over time until I then moved into a purpose built seven surgery practice in 2011. In 2014 I acquired my second practice in nearby Malton. I currently work full time in general dental practice both on the NHS and privately interacting with patients , colleagues and mentoring younger dentists. Being BAME myself , I am particularly interested in the interaction with minority groups especially within the profession.
I have been an Educational Supervisor (VT Trainer) since 2006, and completed a postgraduate certificate in Education in 2015. I also have a certificate in Appraisal of Dental Practice.
Whilst an undergraduate, I was President of the Dental Students Association and helped to organise a national Students conference. Whilst a student , I attended the Representative Board, as well as sat on the Education Sub-Committee.
I also represented the Vocational Trainees at a national level.
I have been Assistant Secretary of my LDC for over 10 years and have represented my area at LDC conferences and have also been active locally.
Across the last 28 years I have gained the experience of dealing with all aspects of the profession; from the joys of being a VT to the joys of supervising them, from dealing with bosses to being a boss, from dealing with the CQC and NHS England locally and to navigating the local and national political issues with the LDC. Throughout this, the ability to listen to other people and the courage to speak honestly have been the best tools for resolving problems, and getting results.
I have been a BDA member continuously since 1991 and am committed to supporting my fellow colleagues both locally and hopefully on a national level if successful in this election.
I balance my work and home life as the mother of four grown up children with a largely absent lawyer husband.
Choose change, you can make it happen
Anyone who knows me, knows my history. I suffered from burn out triggered by a combination of postnatal anxiety and the stress of being a mostly NHS dentist.
I decided to take a month off and try to regain my emotional wellbeing. This left me determined to help dentists who are suffering in “The System”.
I qualified from Cardiff in 2009 and work within spitting distance (pardon the pun) of the constituency of Aneurin Bevan (founder of the NHS). Now I see dentists are being forced into situations which are not fair or safe, their mental wellbeing is being eroded, morale has never been so low.
I recognised the problem and did something about it. I set up Mental Dental, an online forum where dentists with problems can share their own experiences, anonymously, and get support from their peers. However, behind so many of the messages lies the sheer anger, frustration and fear of the profession.
So what can I bring to the table that’s different from anyone else and will turn the tide against this engulfing tsunami?
Firstly, I am a woman. 80% of newly qualified dentists are female, yet there is only one women on PEC. Diversity in representation, at present, is a little lacking at PEC level. It is vital members see themselves represented by someone like them, who understands where they are coming from.
I am a young (ish) mother of three and a practice owner, formerly an associate. I understand what issues affect the vast majority of dentists.
I enthusiastically devote my time to helping the profession, I am the South Wales Representative for GDPC, the Vice Chair of Welsh GDPC and Vice Chair of YDC, I sit on Welsh Council and two LDCs. I am currently involved in setting up a helpline “Confidental” to support dentists in emotional distress.
I believe that the BDA is the body to represent dentists, to fight for our working conditions and wellbeing but it is only as strong as its membership and leaders.
Choose me, make that choice, make a change. Look beyond the words and look at me as a person.
Vote for me, vote for my fresh new ideas, vote for the commitment I have already shown and will continue to dedicate to you, to all dentists. Thank you for your consideration.
Most of my early career has been spent working in NHS General Dental Practice, first under Item of Service, and currently under the UDA system after the 2006 contractual reforms. My varied career has also included work with the community dental service and hospital service, as well as teaching clinical skills. In 2011, I was awarded a Masters Dental Public Health with Distinction, and in 2013 I embarked on academic specialty training in Dental Public Health at Sheffield University. Throughout my training, I have maintained my clinical skills by working out of hours in the emergency dental service and general dental practice.
My favourite distractions from writing my PhD thesis include dipping my toes into documentary film-making concerned with diverse oral beauty and healthcare cultures, doing jigsaw puzzles and cooking with my toddler, reading political fiction, and fashion.
I believe my employment in multiple dental sectors equips me to listen to and understand the priorities of the different craft committees. If elected to sit on the Principal Executive Committee, I would support the BDA with their current priorities, as well as introduce new strategic initiatives. For instance, I am particularly interested in widening active participation from the diverse membership. I would make concentrated efforts to engage with the female membership to inform the strategic direction and priorities of the BDA. Women face a disproportionate number of challenges in dentistry. These include balancing work with caring responsibilities, undertaking less than full time training, taking career breaks during maternity leave, peri- and postnatal mental health concerns, the gender pay gap, and pension disparities. I believe strengthening democratic representation in the BDA is one way to ensure female voices are heard, thereby making dentistry’s professional organisation and trade union more inclusive so that it works for all of us.
Working with the BDA, I would examine opportunities to include dental representation in the developing Integrated Care Systems. Through this, I would establish oral health as part of the wider health agenda, creating innovative labour opportunities for the profession while delivering holistic care for patients. As a wet-fingered dentist with a public health background, I have strategic insight anchored in personal experience of the wider determinants that influence our labour rights and working conditions as dentists. If elected, I would bring this expertise to improve our working conditions, as better working conditions ultimately ensure the highest quality care for our patients.
I have been working in general dental practice since my graduation in 1996 and am very sensitive to the changes that all practitioners have been subject to particularly in recent years. Being a General Dental Practitioner Committee member for my locality, Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral since 2015 has been invaluable in allowing me to fully understand the workings of this wonderful profession that we have invested our careers in. I have been a member of my local LDC since 2006, teach on the undergraduate outreach scheme in practice with Liverpool University and have been an Educational Supervisor from 2007 to date. I am passionately keen on representing interests from all colleagues, especially our more recently qualified practitioners and would be honoured to be able to be involved in the strategy, business and operational plans for the BDA in such changing political times in the United Kingdom.
I qualified as a dentist from Kings College London. I worked for the SDS in South London briefly and did a house job at King's. I then worked in general practice in Croydon and Sidcup for a number of years before moving to Gloucestershire to join an expense sharing partnership in Stroud, which I eventually bought outright in 1999.. Over the years and with contract changes we evolved into a mixed practice offering NHS, private and dental scheme options to our patients, employing associates and hygienists and therapists.
Throughout my career I have had a special interest in orthodontics and did clinical attachments over many years and have held a GDS orthodontic contract.
I have been a VT/FD trainer since 2000, in the West Midlands and South West Deaneries and continue to perform that role.
I have been an elected member of the Gloucestershire LDC for many years and am currently Chair. In this role I have had dealings with the Area Team and the many forms it has taken over the years, which have included negotiation of PDS contracts, mentoring and helping out in a pastoral role when appropriate. I have found these additional roles both challenging and rewarding.
Within the last few years, I have sold my practice and I now work there as an associate, but still as a trainer (educational supervisor).
I have been encouraged by the recent awakening of the BDA, to its members concerns and needs and feel I would like to be a part of that effort to ensure that dentistry is allowed to achieve its full potential in the UK and not be undermined or side-lined.
Dentistry is a changing profession. There is a shift from independent practices, run by those with local knowledge and a role within their communities, to corporate groups which often foster unsupported, poorly run environments for an increasing number of associates. Whether a practice owner, aspiring owner, or an associate looking for a stable and rewarding career, the BDA should be in your corner fighting for excellent working conditions and a fair playing field.
Since 2013, I have worked for HEE as a Dental Foundation TPD, and more recently a Dental Workforce Support Advisor. My knowledge and understanding of the needs of our young dentists allow me to see clearly the difficulties ahead for them. I have also watched our fantastic local practices taking a battering from the DoH, working under a contract which fundamentally disrespects the hard work and dedication of our members.
Clinically, I am an associate in a mixed general practice, but since graduating in 2006, I have also worked in CDS, the Prison Service and Out of Hours. I am Chair of the Suffolk LDC and have recently chaired a committee to set up a Practitioner Advice and Support Scheme. I see daily how our dentists are struggling.
I have held multiple BDA roles including Chair and Treasurer of the Suffolk Section, Treasurer and President of Eastern Counties Branch, and GDPC representative for Eastern Counties.
In the current triennium, I was elected as Chair of English Council, and currently hold the position of UK Council Chair. As such, I attend the non-confidential section of the PEC meetings.
My experience clinically, educationally, and politically gives me the necessary and appropriate background to undertake the role as a Principal Executive Committee member at the BDA. I am not a delusional radical, thinking that everything can be changed overnight by one individual with a bright idea. It takes dedication and an often very unrewarding slog before we see a glimmer of hope; however, I am still full of the enthusiasm and determination not to let it grind me down.
As our demographics change, the BDA must respond and ensure that their offerings are still relevant and applicable to all. To bridge this gap, I can bring my experience from working with dentists who are the future of our profession to the table, and make sure that their careers are as rewarding as they were for those who came before them.