Dentists’ leader issues rallying cry to the profession
7 May 2015
The British Dental Association’s (BDA) Mick Armstrong today issued a rallying cry to dentists to throw off the image of “the quiet profession” and rise to the challenge in the next parliament.
The Chair of the Principal Executive Committee used his address to the BDA Conference in Manchester to outline key strategic priorities for the BDA, including a focus on dental regulation, contracts and workforce morale.
The speech follows on from a dramatic year for the profession, which saw the government forced to backtrack on a £2,000 pay cut for foundation dentists, and the General Dental Council pulled up in front of the House of Common’s Health Committee for a scrutiny hearing.
Speaking on polling day for the UK General Election, Mick Armstrong said:
“In this general election campaign you might have thought you missed the debate on dentistry. Well you didn’t, because there wasn’t one. Put simply when politicians talk about health, they don’t mean oral health. When they bang on about ‘whole person care’, that ‘whole person’ doesn’t have teeth.
“What all this means is we can’t be the quiet profession any longer. Sitting back, on the fence or on the side-lines will not cut it. If politicians have been unresponsive to our issues, it’s up to us to change that, and get out there, set agendas and lead debates.
“It’s time to put oral health where it belongs. We are not asking for special pleading, just for dentistry to be part of the discussion. It’s time to address the nation’s addiction to sugar; tackle health inequalities; put prevention at the heart of policy – especially in contract reform; and for the profession’s and patients’ sake, let’s fix dental regulation.
“The BDA has always been in the business of change, and in the next parliament we will be even clearer on that purpose. Our world is as it is, but it doesn’t have to be. We have to draw a line, on shoddy regulation, on contracts that aren’t fit for purpose, on declining morale in our profession, and on the priority given that’s been given to oral health.
“Already we’ve shown what we can do. We stopped the planned £2,000 pay cut for foundation dentists. We made Westminster wake up to the problems at the GDC. And I know we couldn’t have accomplished any of this without our members behind us.
“Our people are what makes the BDA. And what will continue to drive it in the five years of this coming parliament.”
About the BDA
The British Dental Association (BDA) is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the UK. It represents dentists working in general practice, in community and hospital settings, in academia and research, and in the armed forces, and includes dental students. The BDA promotes members’ interests, advances the science, arts and ethics of dentistry, and contributes towards improving the nation's oral health.
For further information, please contact the BDA's media team on 0207 563 4145/46 or visit the BDA's news centre. You can also follow news from the BDA on Twitter. Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.