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All that's new in the world of dentistry
MAR
01

Give And Take - BDA benevolent Fund

Give And Take - BDA benevolent Fund

When experts were compiling this year’s annual World Happiness Report, they took a number of different variables into account to judge a population’s happiness. GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity were all part of the equation.1
 

Of all these factors, generosity was consistently recorded to have one of the highest positive affects on the population and to produce the lowest negative overall effect. To evaluate a country’s level of generosity, participants were asked, “Have you donated to charity in the past month?”
 

The UK is, according to these results, the 21st happiest country in the world.[1] Since the UK Giving Report 2014, 57% of adults in this country are regularly donating to charities – to a sum of around £10.6 billion.[2] So how does giving to those in need correlate to happiness?
 

Research has shown that people who are giving money to charity exhibit heightened brain activity – particularly in the ventral striatum and tegmental parts of our brain. These areas are closely linked to the experience of positivity  and our physiological reward system and the processing of emotional output from the amygdala.[3] What this means is that the act of donation triggers a chemical reaction in our brains that produces a sense of reward and positive emotion. Not only this, but it is well documented that those who regularly give feel healthier both physically and mentally.[4]
 

If giving blindly encourages optimism, imagine how good it would feel knowing that you have helped a fellow colleague, peer or even quite possibly, someone you know. Because the BDA Benevolent Fund has been providing this type of vital support since its establishment in 1882, the team are more than aware of the gratitude felt by all of its beneficiaries.
 

When speaking about the Fund, one recipient, who shall remain anonymous for confidentiality reasons, put this into context: “I treasure every action and gesture from people who have helped me and the children cope with cruelty and hardship. Your help means a great deal to me. I will never forget it.”
 

For others, the work of the Fund and the thanks felt towards dentists who donate is seen as more than a helping hand, it has saved their lives.
 

“To be perfectly honest, before I met the general manager, I was seriously considering suicide. I had a very low opinion of the human race, but your response to me has made me reconsider that there are still some decent human beings after all.”
 

But most of all, the financial support that the BDA Benevolent Fund provides is the answer when all other channels have failed. “Please accept my heartfelt thanks for giving me an emergency grant. I’m truly not sure how I would have managed otherwise.”
 

By offering essential monetary assistance to dentists and their families during difficult or unexpected financial hardships, the Fund helps many dental professionals get their lives back on track. While it may feel good to give, offering a sense of reward and pride in aiding those less fortunate, donating is essentially about one thing – improving the lives of those in need.
 

Before Dr. T needed to take time off work to have life-saving surgery, I bet she’d never considered that one day she’d need financial support from the BDA Benevolent Fund. But after her husband left her and she was struggling to support two young children, the Fund offered assistance in her darkest hour. Now that Dr. T has a monthly grant to cover costs while she is recovering, and a loan to help pay for child-care costs accrued whilst she was in and out of hospital, it is not hard to guess how she feels about the Fund now.
 

For the good work to continue and to change more lives for the better, the Fund needs your donations. Entirely dependant on your generosity, the BDA Benevolent Fund asks for your help to make sure that your colleagues are not left alone in times of personal crisis.

 

Thank you.

 

The BDA Benevolent Fund relies on your help to continue its work,
so please contact us on 020 7486 4994 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
or to give a donation today go to www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk.
 

And if you are in need of help yourself, please contact us now.

All enquiries are considered in confidence.

Registered charity no. 208146

 



[1] The World Happiness Report 2015, published online, 2015; link: https://templatearchive.com/world-happiness-report/ [accessed: 28/04/2015]

[2] UK Giving 2014, published online, 2014; link: https://www.cafonline.org/pdf/CAF%20UK%20Giving-FINAL%20-%20web%20enabled.pdf [accessed: 28/04/2015]

[3] Moll, J., et al. (2006). Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(42)

[4] Mental Health Foundation; Altruism page; link: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/A/altruisim/ [accessed: 28/04/2015]

 

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FEB
09

Help Is Always Needed - BDA Benevolent Fund

Help Is Always Needed - BDA Benevolent Fund

None of us can predict the future, and as a result, life can stop us in our tracks when we least expect it. Whether as a result of lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity, or plain cruel misfortune, life-changing diseases can strike without any warning at all.
 

Dr. R discovered this for herself early last year after having a severe heart attack. She found that suffering from such a serious and unexpected health condition turned her life upside down.
 

Although the heart attack wasn't life threatening, Dr. R was in poor health and struggled with the after effects of undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft. Between recommended rest, implementing lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of reoccurrence and gradually restoring physical fitness, Dr. R had no choice but to take considerable time off work. Sadly, her husband also lost his job at this time and there wasn’t an income to support her husband and two young children; debt inevitably amassed.                                                                                               


Just as Dr. R had started to recover, her husband had a nervous breakdown.
 

Although after several months he managed to recover, he was unable to find employment. Between the responsibility of looking after her husband and children and dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of her heart attack, Dr. R found it increasingly difficult to cope. When the situation started affecting her daughter with extended periods of depression and poor performance at school, she was unable to continue working as a dentist.


Eventually, her debts forced Dr. R to declare bankruptcy and sell her home. During this process her husband left her and their children and has not provided any financial support since.
 

Cases like this are more common than you think and by working together to provide financial support, the future for dentists like Dr. R – who is now a support teacher in a local school and feels brighter about her prospects – doesn't have to be bleak. Run by dentists for dentists, the BDA Benevolent Fund provides pecuniary support to current and former dentists and their families through all stages of their career and beyond. It relies on the generosity of dentists, dental organisations and companies to continue its work, so your help is critical.


By making a monetary donation or participating in fundraising events you could help a valuable cause. Thanks to the support of the profession, the BDA Benevolent Fund was able to help Dr. R, and who knows, maybe one day the Fund will help you.

 

The BDA Benevolent Fund relies on your help to continue its work,
so please contact us on 020 7486 4994 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
or to give a donation today go to www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk.
 

And if you are in need of help yourself, please contact us now.

All enquiries are considered in confidence.

 

Registered charity no. 208146

 

 

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DEC
03

Behind the headlines – a review of dentistry in the press in 2015

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Practice Plan presents a round-up of news items published in the general media on dentistry in 2015, offering insight into the public’s perception of both NHS and private dentistry.

The dental news year kicked off with many print and online news outlets detailing the results of a Which? report, which found that dentists were not being sufficiently transparent with their treatment fees. What seemed most obvious about the results was that people were confused. For example, 40% said they were not clear about what treatments they were entitled to on the NHS. 
 
These findings were somewhat unsurprising given, as Mick Armstrong, the chairman of the British Dental Association (BDA), was quoted as saying in a BDA press release: ‘Unfortunately the rules determined by government have proved a recipe for confusion. Neither the NHS contract nor what the NHS will pay for is clear enough. It's a system that is failing patients and practitioners alike.’
 
‘In the narrow window available in a time-pressed NHS, a dentist must explain not just the technical details of clinical treatment options, but also the workings of the payment system and where the NHS and private treatment cross-over.’
 
‘With such a muddled set of arrangements, the system almost sets up the dentists working in it to fail.’
 
 Building on this, in February The Scotsman, among other media sources, informed us that private dentist charges were akin to a postcode lottery, according to a survey by WhatClinic.com. Putting a positive spin on what was essentially negative PR for private dentists up and down the UK, Emily Ross, director of WhatClinic.com, suggested there were ‘huge savings’ to be made if patients were willing to shop around.
 
 
Springtime reports
 
Come March, the name Desmond D'Mello hit the headlines, with the BBC reporting that five people treated by the dentist, who was investigated for poor hygiene, had tested positive for hepatitis C. This was the result of the largest ever patient recall in NHS history, involving 22,000 people. As the resulting BDA statement quite rightly indicated: ‘Dentists across the UK are setting high standards, and any exceptions are both regrettable and rare’, but perhaps the damage had already been done in terms of public perception.
  
April saw the publication of the results of a Freedom of Information request made to the NHS Business Services Authority about the pensionable pay of dentists who perform NHS dentistry. The Independent shared with its readers that: ‘The pay of the top five NHS dentists has been revealed to be nearly five times the Prime Minister's £142,000 pay packet.’ Clearly there is more to this report but, alas, the dental professionals’ side of the story was not shared. 
 
May brought with it headlines that everyone scared of the dentist could relate to – a woman apparently used superglue to stick her teeth back in as she was too afraid to make an appointment to have the situation treated appropriately. The Mirror reported that ultimately 11 teeth had to be removed and implants placed. 

 
Summer highlights
 
This patient’s story was subsequently covered in June in the BBC documentary, The truth about your teeth. On it, she said: ‘Wonderful, isn’t it? I feel amazing and there are no hands over my mouth or embarrassment and the difference people have said in me, noticed in me, my friends, things like that, they’re just like, oh my God, you’re more outgoing.’ This was a great outcome for the patient but as it was clear that the treatment was provided privately, it left some wondering if NHS dentistry was private dentistry’s poor, frightening relation.
 
Despite this report, on the whole The truth about your teeth presented a relatively positive view of dentistry, including the capability of dentistry to transform lives for the better, as well as the clinical and interpersonal skills of those who performed the treatment shown.
 
Then, on 16 June, The Daily Mail came up with the shocking headline of: ‘How greedy dentists are fleecing families: Investigation reveals that they hide prices, block NHS treatment and needlessly pull out teeth’. Despite this most unfortunate headline firmly placing blame at the dental practice’s door, the article itself did impart some semblance of sense for those who read beyond the attention-grabbing introduction, highlighting the access problem dogging NHS dentistry. This article was followed up the next day in the same newspaper, in the form of an opinion piece written by Sarah Vine, who criticised the NHS system rather than dentists. 
 
Balancing the sensationalism, Mick Armstrong said: ‘These arbitrary targets have proved a real obstacle for new NHS patients. Many dentists would like to see more patients, but this is impossible within rigid contracts. For far too long oral health has been left out of the health debate and this new evidence provides fresh impetus for government to reassess its agenda.’
 
July saw The Guardian highlighting the suggested link between oral health and systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Carrying that all-important message that ‘…twice-daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is the best route to healthy teeth and gums, combined with regular trips to the dentist’, this was certainly a positive story for the dental profession and the public alike.
 
In August, Guardian Weekly asked: ‘Why does going to the dentist feel like a trip back in time to the stone age?’ Linking in to what appears to be a common misconception, author Carloyn Johnson explored why this view continues to dog the dental profession, investigating whether it is the result a public relations problem. After all, dentistry has moved on in leaps and bounds; yet, as Denis Kinane, Dean of the Dental School at the University of Pennsylvania, said in the piece: ‘This kind of cleaning that means someone has got to spend time scraping every tooth is laborious and antiquated but we’re working on that right now.’ 
 
Also in August, The Daily Mail and other news outlets picked up on new figures revealing that every week in the UK, 500 children aged between five to nine years old are admitted to hospital as a result of tooth-related problems. The paper also reported that experts considered the problem was likely to get worse, because access to a dentist is a growing problem. 
 
Placing the blame firmly in the lap of the Conservative party, Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, was quoted as saying: ‘This data reveals a decade of inertia in access to dentistry. It's appalling that tooth decay remains the most common reason why five-to-nine-year-olds are admitted to hospital – in some cases for multiple tooth extractions under general anaesthetic – despite tooth decay being almost entirely preventable. Visiting the dentist regularly is crucial in providing rapid diagnosis and treatment to prevent both children and adults from being hospitalised due to tooth decay. The new Government needs to urgently review why access is not improving and launch a national campaign to stress the importance of seeing a dentist.'
 
It would be remiss to produce an article on dental news in 2015 without touching upon Cecil the lion and US dentist Walter Palmer, since it took up so many column inches over the summer. One man’s pursuit of big game, which had nothing to do with dentistry, suddenly demonised the profession in a most unfair and unfortunate way. 
 
What this has the ability to teach all of us, as reported by The Huffington Post, is that the importance of public relations should not be underestimated: ‘….it used to be said that you shouldn't say something you wouldn't want reported in The Times tomorrow. Today, the danger is much greater. Walter Palmer damaged his own livelihood because of an inability to understand the importance of online social networks and collective value. Social capital matters. Whether you are an individual or an organisation, your voice online will be heard, and by a greater audience than who you market to offline. Long gone are the days of having complete control of your image and perception. Like Mr Palmer now realises, the power of people is huge and the conversation is two-way.’ 
 
September brought headlines concerning an alleged link between going to the dentist and Alzheimer’s. The Daily Mail blamed the connection on contaminated instruments but failed to cover the fact that dental professionals’ employ stringent infection control protocols. The same article also suggested that severe periodontitis can trigger Alzheimer’s. 
 
In October, thanks again to The Daily Mail, we met Natalya Rosenschein, who wants to be ‘Britain's toughest dentist’. With the dental student reported to ‘juggle teeth-pulling with weightlifting’, it was something of a shame that an opportunity had been missed to use more positive language to boost the profession’s hard work both in the surgery and out of it.
 
 
Looking to the future
 
For dentists looking to the future and trying to decide whether NHS, private or mixed practice holds the key to success for their practice, keeping an eye on public perception can help. Alongside the issues that need be considered to reach an informed conclusion, such as financial viability and strategic direction, there has to be a public desire for what you are planning to offer.   
 
There is no crystal ball that is going to provide dentists with a definitive answer, but with 2015 coming to a close, this year’s news reported in consumer media about dentistry has taught us that despite imparting a considerable amount of negativity – especially if readers don’t get past the mostly sensationalist headlines– dentistry is a topic of interest. It therefore seems that the challenge is to capitalise on this curiosity by considering what this means for your practice’s future.
 
                                                                                                     
 
Practice Plan is the UK’s number one provider of practice-branded dental plans. They have been supporting dentists with NHS conversions for more than 20 years, helping them to evaluate their options and, for those who decide to make the change, guiding them through a safe and successful transition to private practice. So, if you’re thinking about your future and would like some expert advice you can trust, then call 01691 684165 or visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/nhs.
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5828 Hits
NOV
15

BDA Benevolent Fund - Case study of beneficiary/family with serious illness

CASE STUDY OF BENEFICIARY/FAMILY WITH SERIOUS ILLNESS

Every year, the BDA Benevolent Fund helps dentists and their families in times of dire financial need. The case of Dr Smith, whose name has been changed to protect their identity, is an example of just one of the many times the Fund has offered vital monetary assistance to those who need it most.

 

Early last year Dr Smith, who was then married and had two young children, suffered a series of setbacks which turned his and his family’s life upside down. First of all he was treated for early stage liver cancer which fortunately was found to be operable. However, he suffered severely from the after-effects of the treatment and had to take considerable time off work, eventually leading to him losing his job. This meant the family had no income and were struggling to keep on top of mounting debts. His wife had recently been made redundant and she was finding it very hard to come to terms with this and to find new employment. Dr Smith had just managed to recover enough to return to work himself when the family suffered a further blow: his wife was struck down with a debilitating stroke. Although she managed to recover after several months, she has not been able to find employment since that time.

 

Dr Smith returned to work for a short period but found it increasingly difficult to cope both mentally and physically with the aftermath of his own illness and looking after his wife and their two children. The situation adversely affected his daughter who started experiencing periods of depression and performed badly at school. Finally, he came to the conclusion that he would be unable to continue working as a dentist and has not practised since. The couple’s debts eventually led to them having to declare bankruptcy and to sell their family home. During this process his wife left him and their children and has not contributed to their support since.

 

Gradually with financial help from the Ben Fund, Dr Smith was able to get back some sort of normality. The Fund helped him with a regular monthly grant towards living expenses and contributed to the costs of moving house. He was also given some extra support during the summer holidays for the children and help with fuel bills in the winter. Dr Smith is now starting to feel much more positive about his life. He has begun working part-time as a support teacher in a local school and is considering the possibility of training to become a mentor and counsellor. 

 

The BDA Benevolent Fund relies on your help to continue its work,
so please contact us on 020 7486 4994 or
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
or to give a donation today go to www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk.
 

And if you are in need of help yourself, please contact us now.

All enquiries are considered in confidence.

 

Registered charity no. 208146

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4713 Hits

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