Momentum added to the Big Lie campaign?

Momentum added to the Big Lie campaign?
After a couple of years, is there now some momentum behind the Big Lie campaign devised, proposed and propagated by Dr Tony Kilcoyne BDS, often using the columns of GDPUK, as well as using ITV Daybreak, Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2, and the letters column of the Daily Telegraph.
The basis of the campaign is wide ranging and Dr Kilcoyne often talks about protected time, so that dental professionals can have adequate time with patients that is not constrained by overbearing pressures of targets which must be met, targets set by unaccountable NHS managers. In addition, his campaign always mentions the un-noticed aspect that the most likely reason for hospital admission in England for children between ages of 5 and 9 is the disease of dental decay, and those children need extractions of multiple teeth under general anaesthetic, which, for safety reasons, must only be provided in a hospital environment.
Medical and dental professionals must stop politicians pontificating on the NHS being free at the point of demand, and repeat again and again, in reality, the politicians run a finite, cash limited service with growing and open-ended demand. 
Other aspects of the campaign must be patient education, a tax on sugar drinks and confectionery to fund better dental care as well as discouraging use, as with cigarettes. In addition, the dental professional of this country must takes steps using public relations techniques to educate and win over the public so they know that adding fluoride in tiny quantities to public water supplies will benefit their children and future generations.
I find it amazing that despite the public image of dentists, we are the only group in favour of this latter measure, yet this would make less work for us in our high investment, high expense practices. Because we are professionals, and we see the damage caused, and our professionalism makes us draw attention to the widely ignored preventive message.
Last week [13th January 2015] the august body that is the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons released their thoughts on what is going wrong for the teeth of young children in England, in the form of a press release. This body is not one of the wildest of institutions, it is hundreds of years old, with roots going back to 1540. Its' leaders rise through an establishment process of professorial rank in a high achieving and multi-qualified professions. In effect, by publishing the concerns of the Royal College in this rare move, they have joined the clamour with a loud hailer from the tallest building - children are suffering with a preventable disease and un-necessary hospitalisation, but the Government is looking the other way.
In our highly developed United Kingdom, the sales of sugar, sweets and confectionery continue to rise. In fact between 2008 and 2013, when consumer spend has been squeezed in the UK, cumulative rise was only 2%, [source Mintel] despite a fall in that time in disposable real family income. Every year more millions are spent on these items, and the manufacturers, the supermarkets, the retailers churn it out. For students of economics, these confections are great value added products for the manufacturers and the rest. But the culture of ignorance, and the sad culture of avoiding and deriding the dentist, together with the inexorable rise in sales mean tooth decay is on the up, and hospital admissions increase.
Cynically we can joke and say we need a "sugar czar" but maybe the way forward for this campaign is for a high profile leader to enact established, proven concepts, increase regions with artificial fluoridation of water, increase education regarding the effects of sugar, and reduce sales of confectionery aimed at small children. In addition a change in attitude, promoting the concept that families who allow their children's teeth to rot are neglectful, this is a totally preventable disease and this knowledge is not new.
Let us hope that more dental bodies, in fact all dental bodies, come together to raise the profile of this health failure, and improve the national oral health of our children.
The children of dentists do not suffer this disease. Full stop.
Tony Jacobs
References and further reading:
  1. Royal College of Surgeons report January 2015
  2. Daily Telegraph letter 2014
  3. Daily Telegraph letter 2015
  4. Mintel market insight reports

Image acknowledgement

Running to Paradise Garden
by Nicolas Alejandro
Shown under Creative Commons licence


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Playing Chicken with the GDC?

So, the GDC has responded to the BDA’s challenge at the 12th hour with the response we probably all expected. Basically it’s a legalese version of a ‘la la la we’re not listening, and my dad’s bigger than your dad ‘cos he’s going to take all your money when you lose’.

The problem we have with that is that the BDA needs funds to take the GDC to Judicial review which comes from its members, us,  which the GDC will fight using the money it gets from its registrants, also us.

Great. We get to pay for both sides slugging it out in court. That’s like getting the kids to pay for both sides in a divorce out of their own pocket money.

One could argue there will be no winners in this case other than the legal bigwigs who, should the BDA carry out its threat to start the Judicial Review process, will start to cost considerable amounts of our money on both sides. If the BDA wins, then this will only be one of the issues with the GDC dealt with, as the JR will only deal with the Consultation process, and not the greater failings of the GDC we are pointing out left right and centre. Given that the arrogance of the GDC throughout the whole process so far has been astounding, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility for the GDC to lose the JR, and STILL continue in the same manner as before, asking for even more money to replace that spent on the legal profession, and leave us with merely a pyrrhic victory, and an even bigger ARF increase. They even comment today that they are pleased to have received 4000 responses to the consultation. It shows they probably haven’t read them as I’m sure the vast majority of them wont be supportive ones.

If the BDA lose, and then have to pay the costs and losses of the GDC then this could spell the end of our professional association financially, and with it probably the last real chance of taking on a bullying and out of touch regulator. That’s why it needs as many members to support it financially by joining up in a show of solidarity.

We have this chance to take a stand as a profession, and I’m sure the legal team at the BDA have considered the implications of not winning the Judicial Review. But if the BDA backs down now, what message does that send to the GDC? I’d wager things would then get even worse from a whole load of other angles, not least from the DoH regarding the new contract. The BDA press release this evening in response to the GDC is possibly quite telling in that Mick Armstrong promises to put the interests of dentists first, and not just those of its members and the association.

So are the BDA going to play Chicken with the GDC?

I think they should.

That's an angry Chicken.

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Chas Lister

Gender issue

that's a cockerel not a chicken ... Great words ST
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Crunch week

Crunch week

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Abraham Lincoln


Ok its crunch week, and the quote I have used here seems apposite to the issues at stake in Wimpole Street this Friday, 21st Febrary.

The Probe carries its coverage of the Big Lie discussions which carry on from  Dr Kilcoyne’s leading campaign . The letter in the Daily Telegraph stirred the waters.

The effect of The Probe is to relight the fires of this burning issue in a very welcome manner. The consistent spin of the official replies is becoming eye crossing.

There is general worry that the tripartite comfy zone that is the table around which the BDA, the DH and NHS England sit is looking increasingly as though it is actually a defensive set up to protect their interests, at the cost the care of the patient by dentists.

And so this Friday, as BDA Members YOU have a chance to make YOUR voice heard.

If you cannot attend this EGM, please ensure you vote by proxy. Crack on now because it is a carefully defined legally binding process.  You cannot just phone a mate the day before.

Now is the chance to fire up your Representative Association.  Put a rocket up their collective arses if you will.

There will not be a second chance before Contract Reform hits you between the eyes.

It is a well worn quote of Napoleon Hill, but still, it applies.

“Whatever you want, oh discontented man, step up, pay the price – and take it.”

Good luck to our illustrious and historic Profession – it is not too dramatic to say that a large part of the future of the present generation of GDPs hangs on what happens this Friday.

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Can imbalances remain unresolved?

Can imbalances remain unresolved?

This period of low interest rates in the UK combined with changes in society and demographics have had some long term effects which are far from coming to roost. Since the financial collapses of 2008, UK Government policies have been to minimize the economic shock; people have been protected by saving the banks from failure and also by continuing low interest rates. 

History tells us that economic policies designed to insulate from short term shock tend to come with a long term consequences. But no-one has thought about a cohort affected more badly by this economic effect, hard working young adults. They have to deal with high property prices and high rents, less secure employment together with rock bottom interest rates if they manage to save, but high interest rates if they have credit card or pay day debts.

Will there be friction between the younger generation whose lives are markedly different from their parents in so many ways? There hasn't been a revolution or even a rebellion, just a combination of changes of circumstance in society at large – greater access to further education, starting careers later on average, starting families later, so many important aspects of life have been shifted by a few years.

One piece of good economic news in the UK, along with growth of the economy, has been the gradual fall in the employment rate in late 2013 and early 2014. However, in UK dentistry, this seems to be in reverse, through unintended consequences, and the combination of many seemingly unaccountable people acting in what they think is the right way, but having a terrible effect on the lives of young dental graduates.

In our dental profession we are now seeing, possibly for the first time in history, unemployment of newly qualified dental professionals. What is now known as the Dental Foundation Training [DF1] scheme, which was commenced as an educational process to help young graduates move to the pressures of working as a trusted professional from those of a dental student. This scheme has now, over many years, become a requirement that dental graduates must complete before they can do any work within the NHS. They have to have a "performer number", obtained by joining then completing this scheme. 

Interestingly, graduates of dentistry from the EU do not have to gain this requirement in order to work in the NHS. However, in the present national foundation dentistry scheme, EU dental graduates have equal standing with UK graduates, and each year some of those from the UK miss out, and cannot work. They may reapply but can only enter the recruitment process twice. After that, if they fail to get through an interview and psychometric assessments, they can have no future career in NHS dentistry EVER.

In the interview process which started in November 2013, with results issued in mid January with no fanfare nor press release, it is estimated [and this is a SHOCKING figure] that more than 10% of UK dental graduates have been left with no employment next summer when they graduate.

What a waste of studying, hours of hard work and sacrifice. Students these days live from loans, those qualifying presently have student debts around £30,000 with potentially no prospect of working in dentistry. Last year, tuition fees rose to £9,000 per annum, so those qualifying soon will have debts of £60,000 or more, yet carry this risk of not having a job when they pass their university examinations and graduate. A further insult is the 18 month rule, where applicants have two chances to apply and go through the process. If then unsuccessful, the artificial rule that bars them from following their career in the UK adds to the injustice.

In addition, this pre-judgment of their chance of a career is insulting and morale sapping, to say the least, before even sitting for their final exams, which seems to relegate those exams, which are the true arbiter of whom is fit to practice, not this FD1 assessment.

Dental colleagues rightly ask where is the British Dental Association in all this? Cannot the dental schools do something – teams of staff there must be angrier than GDPs. And what about COPDEND, who administer this – you must know what is going on? Why can someone take the problem by the horns and change something to benefit UK dental graduates and exclude EU nationals qualifying elsewhere in the EU? Even if you believe there is a risk of breaking an EU law, surely that is better than wrecking the careers and morale of hundreds of young dentists, prejudging the results of their university finals?

The inter-generational friction I referred to earlier might surface in the dental school. Morale must have been affected by this unjust system, university staff must feel that action must be taken for the sake of those they educate. 

This is now the third year of this disastrous situation – something must be done, someone must take responsibility, and make the system fair for UK dental students.


  1. COPDEND DF1 Policy statement: http://www.copdend.org/content.aspx?Group=foundation&Page=foundation_policystatement
  2. GDPUK forum discussion: https://www.gdpuk.com/forum/gdpuk-forum/vt-national-recruitment-process-opens-9971 [this page requires a GDPUK login]



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Andrew Adey

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