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FEB
28
1

I think I’ll go and eat worms

I think I’ll go and eat worms

“Nobody loves us, everyday hates us, think I’ll go and eat worms. “

Sometimes listening to discussions between dentists at my speaking events, or reading the opinions voiced online at various forums I have to wonder about the dental mind-set. There seems to be a dominant attitude that if there’s a way of seeing the worst in things they will.

It is understandable for dentists to feel unloved, let’s face it we’re hardly the most popular of professions. Very few others, even in medicine, routinely carry out potentially painful procedures in such a sensitive area with the patient supine and their airway exposed - rubber dam or not.

Dentistry can be an irritant both physically and financially; nobody leaps out of bed in the morning saying, “Excellent! Dentist today! I do hope they find something challenging to test their ability so I can lie there for an hour or two and then pay for the privilege.”

No wonder that more and more dentists choose to spend as much time as they can on such minimally invasive treatments as whitening and “short term orthodontics”. No drills, no needles and a result that the patient can see is a definite improvement, what’s not to like?

Perhaps social media has made things worse. Reading some of the “I’m more miserable than you, my life is worse than yours” Facebook postings recently has made me wonder if previous generations were more resilient or perhaps were better prepared for a lifetime of dealing with, “I hate these places” as a new patient’s open gambit.

In the pre-internet days the only place for dentists to share their misery was the local post-grad or BDA meetings. There the young bucks (yes, usually male) boasted about their gross whilst their more senior colleagues complained about anything and everything from the new practice down the road (unless the principal was present) to the price of alginate.

I recently I asked a group at a meeting to share what advice they would give to young dentists. Top of the list were “emigrate", “go part time” and “don’t be afraid to leave". This does point to a pretty low state of morale.

Everybody else thinks they know about Dentistry. Politicians, medics and now venture capitalists all believe that there are simple ways to “sort out dentistry”. The result is usually a few corners cut that are perceived as unnecessary by bean counters. So far few, if any, have succeeded in improving clinical care.

Add to the mix the dramatic reduction of dentists who have “skin in the game”. By this I mean the fall in partners and owners from 45% to 17% in general practice. This drift is taking us towards a situation where, in NHS practice anyway, associates are one court case away from being classed as employees. It also has a knock on effect on morale. If you have little or no say in the way your (work)life is being run and you feel like a cog in a machine then it does make it hard to feel valued.

I do wonder if the profession does enough to help itself.

As individuals dentists are often insular and divided, unlike medics we are not taught to be part of a bigger team, and are unable to see the greater good. Writing in “The Advance of the Dental Profession - A Centenary History of the British Dental Association”, N.David Richards noted that in the mid-nineteenth century there was a large group of “dentists” who attracted patients by blatant advertising. He also stated that, “at that time the vast majority of dental surgeons practised exclusively for their own individual and financial interests”.

One hundred and seventy years on I see some similarities. The dramatic increase in marketing and the insularity of many dentists come to mind. The rise in dentist-initiated referrals to the GDC says little good about those involved.

The profession has been played by government over the past dozen years where limited contracts have seen practices willing to join in a race to the bottom by undercutting their colleagues. There is little unity it seems except in complaining. The mantra of non-BDA members is “what has the BDA ever done for me?” Sadly there are too few willing (or able) to join in and serve, rather waiting on the sidelines for the benefits for which the members pay. The BDA has many faults and, by virtue of the inherent conservatism of its membership, tends to serve the late majority rather than be led by the early adopters.

Dentistry is a profession that is full of intelligent, flexible and adaptable people who are skilled at carrying out procedures that influence patients’ quality of life. They work well to deadlines and can make instant decisions (usually correctly).

In her research in the 1980s Helen Finch concluded that the majority of people don’t like dentists as a profession but do like their own dentist. Instead of running scared of those who tell us that the sky has fallen in, we ought to embrace the respect that has been hard gained and exploit it. No, the GDC, CQC won’t do it, the DoH won’t do it, the BDA tries but can’t do it, the only people who can do it are individual dentists and their teams. It’s time that all dentists celebrated what they do, shared the fact that they are far more than the hackneyed drill & fill merchants and started to actively convert their patients one by one to the benefit of good dental health.

If not decide how you want to eat your worms.

 

 

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Recent comment in this post
David Chong Kwan

Right on my mood today

You are not wrong. Nils desperandum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdFkTk3BThA... Read More
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 10:24
4412 Hits
NOV
14
0

Ease festive hardship with BDA Benevolent Fund

Ease festive hardship with BDA Benevolent Fund

 

Spare a thought for those within the profession who are struggling with financial difficulties this Christmas. Circumstances can change suddenly for many reasons, leaving families feeling the pinch and less than cheery as the festivities get underway. 

BDA Benevolent Fund offers additional financial support at this time of year to ensure that families don’t miss out. 

If you, or a dentist you know, are facing financial difficulties, please contact BDA Benevolent Fund, in confidence, on 020 7486 4994, or visit www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk for more information. 

The charity relies on donations.  To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/bdabenevolentfund or send a cheque, payable to ‘BDA Benevolent Fund’, at BDA Benevolent Fund, 64 Wimpole Street London W1G 8YS. Every £1 donated goes directly to a dentist and their family in crisis so your help really does support someone in need.”

The BDA Benevolent Fund wishes you a fantastic festive season, and thanks everyone who has supported them throughout the year.

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SEP
27
0

The British Dental Association and CloserStill Media have announced a major new collaboration.

The British Dental Association and CloserStill Media have announced a major new collaboration.

 

 

The British Dental Association and CloserStill Media have announced a major new collaboration, that will see the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show launched in May next year.

The new collaboration of the BDA’s British Dental Conference and Exhibition, and CloserStill Media’s Dentistry Show, will take place on 18 to 19 May 2018 at the Birmingham NEC and will be the undisputed leader in dental events.

The BDA Conference & Exhibition has been running for over 100 years and is the BDA’s annual flagship event for its members and the wider dental profession. The Dentistry Show, will have been running for 11 years in 2018. The new event will now become the key date in all dental professionals’ diaries with over 10,800 visitors attending the two day event.

The new event will be free of charge and open to all.

BDA Chief Executive Peter Ward said:

“We’re committed to offering our members and this profession the biggest and best event in the dental calendar. This collaboration with our friends at CloserStill Media will take our landmark event to the next level.

“Our British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show is now the one date every dentist needs in their diary. And we’ve opened the doors to the whole profession, to give them all access to the latest innovation, education and quality CPD.

“Our members are our number one priority. On top of one unmissable national conference, we are working to ensure they have access to more exclusive events in more locations across the UK.”

Alex Harden, Event Director of The Dentistry Show said:

“This is an exciting investment for us all. Between us, the team now running The Dentistry Show and The BDA Conference have been responsible for running some of the UK’s fastest growing events over the last two decades. Our combined experience, sector knowledge and significant commercial and marketing resources will be focused on delivering for both exhibitors and the audiences for these powerful brands.” 

 

 

 

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MAY
25
0

NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste Prevents More Than Just Dental Caries

NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste Prevents More Than Just Dental Caries

 

 

Clinically proven to reduce gum problems with unique ActivREPAIR™ technology

Today at the BDA Conference, Oral-B has launched the NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste.

 

Gum problems, a leading cause of tooth loss, can often be prevented through proper at-home oral care and regular visits to a dental professional. Today, more than 50% of the world’s adult population suffers from gum problems and in most/many cases patients ignore or even do not notice the symptoms of gum problems until it is too late, something that must be incredibly frustrating for a dental professional.

Dr Phil Ower, immediate past president of the British Society of Periodontology, commented: “It is our duty as dental professionals to act in the prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment of gum problems in order to combat the potentially serious effect of these issues."

Proper brushing, coupled with specialized toothpaste, not only can prevent gum problems, but also improve gum health.

Proper mechanical plaque control is the cornerstone to reduce gingivitis. However, there is clinical evidence that specialized toothpaste can provide additional gum health benefits. More specifically, over 31 studies show that Stabilized Stannous Fluoride adds value to tooth-brushing through reducing gum inflammation and bleeding.  

“Oral-B has a long history of supporting dental professionals.  Our goal is to always provide superior oral care products that continue the care that starts in your chair, helping your patients achieve stronger teeth and healthier gums”, stated Jane Kidson, Oral-B Professional Oral Health Country Manager.

Oral-B first introduced Stannous Fluoride in the 1950’s to prevent carries. Since then, Oral-B invested over a decade of research to evolve the Stannous technology to also help patients significantly improve gum health and prevent enamel erosion.

Today, Oral-B is introducing the NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste to help patients address the increasing prevalence of gum or enamel issues. Featuring unique ActivRepairTM technology (with 2 sources of Stannous: Stannous Fluoride and Stannous Chloride), it is the best clinically-proven toothpaste from Oral-B to help restore gum health and prevent enamel erosion.

 

Benefits of Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste

NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair is the best clinically-proven toothpaste from Oral-B to help reduce gum problems and prevent enamel erosion.

Reduces gum problems[i]

  • ActivRepair™ technology provides 70% more Stannous vs. Oral-B Pro-Expert for better bacterial control through antibacterial action and bacterial growth inhibition of the plaque.
  • Through this, the new Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair toothpaste can deliver up to 72% greater reduction in gum problems versus ordinary toothpastes[ii].

 

 

Helps prevent enamel erosioni

  • ActivRepair™ Technology actively remineralizes weakened enamel and builds a protective smear layer that protects teeth against acid erosion even beyond pH<3.5.
  • With continued use, Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste makes teeth 3x stronger against enamel erosion vs ordinary toothpastes[iii]

Benefits of Brushing with Oral-B

The use of a specialized toothpaste such as Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste, in combination with Oral-B’s iconic round brush head that cleans better than a manual toothbrush, supports your patients by helping them to brush at their best.

The unique features of Oral-B’s round brush head embrace and adapt to each tooth to deliver superior results on plaque and gum vs. a regular manual toothbrush.  The Oral-B round head and technology has been validated consistently by external and internal clinical research to deliver:

·         Superior plaque removal: Removes 2x more plaque vs. a regular manual toothbrush[iv]

·         Healthier gums: 36% reduction in gum bleeding sites vs. Sonicare[v] and 2x as effective at reducing gingivitis vs. a regular manual brushes[vi]

·         Preferred by patients: 66% preferred Oral-B vs. 31% for a sonic brush[vii]

 

An independent review of published research by the Cochrane Collaboration[viii] also confirmed the superiority and effectiveness of oscillating-rotating power technology over manual brushes, whilst recognizing its safety.

Help your patients brush their very best and achieve better gum and enamel health with Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste and an Oral-B electric rechargeable toothbrush.

 

Oral-B Partners with HPV Action to Improve the Lives of People in the UK

Oral-B strives to help consumers improve their oral health, an important part of overall health and wellness. Research shows that gum issues and particularly gingivitis affect 1 out of 2 adults worldwidei. Some studies also suggest poor gum health is associated with heart disease, diabetes and even premature birth[ix],[x].  As part of our effort to improve the overall health and wellbeing of consumers in the UK, Oral-B has partnered with HPV Action (HPVA), a collaborative partnership of 46 patient and professional organisations that are working to reduce the health burden of HPV, which is estimated to be the cause of 5% of all cancer cases[xi]. Oral-B will donate £5 for each completed Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste dental patient evaluation programme.  All forms received by the end of October 2017 will qualify. Together with HPV Action we believe that we can make an important difference in the lives of consumers in the UK.

 

About Oral-B
Oral-B® is the worldwide leader in the over $5 billion brushing market. Part of the Procter & Gamble Company, the brand includes manual and electric toothbrushes for children and adults, oral irrigators and interdental products, such as dental floss. Oral-B® manual toothbrushes are used by more dentists than any other brand in the U.S. and many international markets.

References


[i] In a laboratory study on weakened enamel

[ii] Gerlach R and Amini P. Comp Cont Dent Educ 2012; 33 (2), 138-142

[iii] Against food acids vs. ordinary toothpastes

[iv] Compend Cont Educ Dent 2014; 25(9):702-706

[v] Oral-B Pro CrossAction vs Sonicare DiamondClean”,  J Clin Dent 2015; 26:80-85

[vi] J Dent Res (AADR/IADR) 2014;93 (Specs Iss A): Abstract 1366

[vii] Among 64 people participating in a clinical trial; P&G Data on file

[ix] Chapple IL, Genco R.  Working group 2 of the joint EFP/AAP workshop. Diabetes and periodontal diseases: consensus report of the Joint EFP/AAP Workshop on Periodontitis and Systemic Diseases. J Periodontal 2013; 84: S106-112 [PMID 23631572 DOI: 10.1902/jop.2013.1340011].

[x] Ide M, Papapanou PN. Epidemiology of association between maternal periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes – Systemic review. J Periodontal 2013; 84(suppl 4):S181-S194.

[xi] de Martel C, Ferlay J, Franceschi S, et al. Global burden of cancers attributable to infections in 2008: A review and synthetic analysis. Lancet Oncology 2012; 13(6):607-615.

 

 

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12282 Hits
AUG
05
0

Follow My Leader...

Follow My Leader...

Just recently things have been relatively quiet in the area that I usually write about. The GDC seems to have realized the mistakes of the past, and the new executive appears to be making overtures about re-engaging with the profession. Slowly but surely many think there might be a break in the thunderclouds and a glint of sunlight over the profession where our continued regulation is concerned.


One would like to think that there are significant inroads being made by the BDA on our behalf as a result of the regime change at Wimpole Street. However, I think many will doubt this, especially when the GDC themselves have actually questioned who leads our profession.
Surely this is an indictment of the profile of our Trade Union and representative body if those at the regulator have to question whom is actually in charge of dentists? It isn’t the Chief Dental Officer, who is more of an advisor to Government than a figure the profession can rally round. Its definitely not the Head of the GDC. There are many ‘celebrity’ figures in Uk dentistry who give themselves the title of ‘KOL’ (key opinion leaders) but again they are really not the leaders of our profession, often just opinionated souls who have some form of medium through which to express their thoughts (and pictures of their cars!). It’s certainly not organisations like Dental Fusion (or should that be Dental Futile?) and other professional organisations who have very limited memberships.

It really is quite obvious then that it should be the BDA. Whilst there are some strong figures within the organisation, and the work that is done by the employees is excellent, it still seems to suffer from an apparent inertia and lack of awareness as to what it could actually achieve. Whilst it no doubt provides some excellent member services, (such as employment and general advice and the library) it seems to frequently live up to the expectation of the profession as a body that drives really changes.

Take for instance the removal of registrant addresses from the GDC website. I’m pretty sure this has been on the ‘Work in Progress’ list at the BDA for some time. Yet it takes one petition by an individual and the GDC not only look at it, but actually manage somehow to change the entrenched view of Chairman Moyes himself. Now the BDA can say that they have done lots behind the scene, but there’s no use doing this and seemingly not achieving anything, especially if it has been going on for years. To then jump on the bandwagon and claim that the issue being raised by the GDC earlier this year was solely as a result of the BDA exerting pressure (when I happen to know that people at the GDC acknowledge the pressure came from the petition) is a little bit naughty.

The BDA is also the only dental body invited to the table with the DoH when negotiating a new contract. To give an analogy from mother nature; This is a little bit like a seal sitting down with a Great White shark and agreeing on the least painful way of being eaten alive. Evolution has taught many creatures to not get involved too closely with the apex predators, yet the BDA continues its same path in the forlorn hope that one day the shark might have indigestion and the seals won’t get eaten. It will always argue that it is there because of those of its members who haven’t any option other than to be seals and swim in the same sea as the shark. Evolution by supporting other options for these practices has always seemed to be low down on the agenda. Shouldn’t leaders of the seals be telling its members to try to keep away from sharks? Won’t the sharks have to evolve themselves or eventually starve to death?

Another example is the pressure that the BDA should still be putting on the CQC. The CQC has not been the subject of my blog at all in the past, and given the fact that I have been a huge critic of them has surprised even me that they haven’t suffered from my ire yet. Since the appointment of John Milne as their National Advisor there has been a distinct increase in the quality of the inspections generally. There has also been the publication of the ‘Mythbuster’ series of articles on the CQC Website . However, it is apparent that even these can suffer from misinformation. In particular the one regarding radiation protection is riddled with errors that make the further entrenching of incorrect information more likely to be referred to as absolutes when they are not. The fact that these errors might then be referred to by the GDC as the CQC is seen as an authority when charges are brought against a practitioner mean that there can be potential for miscarriages of natural justice.

Whilst there is no intention to mislead, when there is an incorrect interpretation of the legislation, rules, regulations etc. by such as the CQC (who we can argue should be an authority themselves anyhow and shouldn’t make errors like this at all) then the BDA should be swift to bring these errors to the attention of the CQC and more importantly the profession in general. This shouldn’t be in a ‘behind the scenes’ manner, but much more publically. We would then know what they are doing. This is not to embarrass the CQC in any way, but merely to demonstrate the obvious authority the BDA should be seen to have, and command the appropriate respect. Once again these errors were brought to the CQCs attention by an individual.

There is a quite frankly ridiculous amount of legislation that governs the practice of dentistry these days, so much so that it is virtually impossible for individuals to keep on top of all the different aspects of compliance. It is vital therefore that whoever leads our profession has an organizational structure that should know all the things governing and legislating dentistry so intimately that at the first sign of a new urban myth appearing somewhere (and they should be aware of where all these myths originate – looking on GDPUK r Facebook is usually a good place to start) there should be a very public and robust re-affirmation of the real legislative and regulatory situation, and with absolute authority and clarity such that the myth is immediately disproved.

I’m sure we can already hear the cries from the BDA that they already work in this way at the moment for their members, and this is true to a degree, but this is usually in a completely reactive and individual manner, and you usually have to actively seek out this information yourselves. Given the sheer volume of stuff that is out there to comply with it is very simple to get caught up in some of the less controversial urban myths such that they become the new fact, and thus perpetuated more. So you actually have to know something is wrong before you question it, otherwise you will automatically accept it is true and thus it becomes the ‘done thing’ as everyone ends up believing the myth. Just like the obligation to record batch numbers of LA in the notes is a myth.

What about jumping on the incorrect use of standards by Expert Witnesses when these are used in GDC hearings and further entrenched by the rulings? Why hasn’t the BDA produced a definitive standards document regarding an acceptable (not minimum or aspirational) standard that items like a simple dental examination should include, and be recorded in the notes? After all, there is enough expertise within the BDA that a consensus document could be produced simply enough. If it has (and I may have missed it admittedly), why aren’t the Expert Witnesses then referring to a document like this as authority? Why haven’t the Indemnifiers mentioned the existence of a document like this in the defence of colleagues? (and why haven’t the indemnifiers produced one either, perhaps by working with the BDA on it?).

Why haven’t the BDA come down like a ton of bricks very vocally on those LAT’s that transgress or selectively (incorrectly) interpret the regulations? If they have, why haven’t they shamed them so publically so that other LAT’s know they are a force to be reckoned with and won’t try it on with other practitioners?

Finally, what about the headlines in The Times this weekend about (surprise surprise) dentists ripping off the public? There doesn’t seem to have been any attempt by the journalists to even contact the BDA for a comment. Surely one of the first organisations to be approached for comment on a story like this would be the association that is supposed to lead dentists. Or is it that even the press think that a comment from the BDA would be about as strong as a wet tissue? At such a time there should be an automatic and robust defense of the professionals, whilst simultaneously showing the failure of the SYSTEM that they work within, and laying the blame squarely at the door of the DoH and Government.


The BDA really should sometimes show its teeth much more readily (no pun intended). But the only time they have done anything approaching this was the Judicial Review into the ARF in 2014. Even then there didn’t seem to be an ability to press home the victory and hitting the GDC whilst they were still reeling. Rather it seemed to all be ‘behind the scenes’ as usual and waiting for the Health Select Committee to grill Gilvarry and Moyes. Where was the tactical approach of ‘putting the boot’ in when it was most needed?

I will admit that political activism often needs to be done behind closed doors, but we need to know that when this is what we are told is happening, something IS actually being done, rather than just being talked about. The reputation of the BDA is such that many feel it never seems to be achieving anything, and therefore people think that it never does. There are so many issues in dentistry that appear at any time, and the BDA suffers from having to be everything to everyone. But surely there is a common theme amongst all in dentistry that our professional association should be there to lead the way vocally and proactively. Instead it often appears to be more a reactionary organisation with the attitude of ‘mother knows best’.

Well I’m sorry, but given the achievements that individuals have made recently in engaging more successfully than the BDA have, would lead me to suggest far from ‘mother knowing best’, mother is now someone who needs to realize they might actually be past it and new ideas and a new approach are needed.

There are a few vocal people in the BDA, but there are also others who seem to be anonymous and conspicuous by their seeming lack of inspirational leadership. Leadership means setting a visible and vocal example that others can then assist them in taking things forward and more importantly want to take forwards despite the obstacles in the way. It’s certainly not getting behind other people’s crusades and then saying look at what we did to get this done. I know of a good many people within dentistry, many of them household names (and for all the right reasons) who are disillusioned that there is no flag we can rally round as a profession; so much so that groups of like minded individuals are now beginning to draw together in order to do what the BDA should be out there doing.

 

Which is to Lead the profession.

At the same time, there has to be an acknowledgement of the postion that dentistry is in within the bigger sphere of healthcare. We will never have the public support that the doctors can call on, and we only have to look at the way the Government have played hard-ball with them over the recent contract ‘negotiations’. Lets face reality here. We will not get any concessions, there will be no more money and the conditions will not improve. We have to accept this and move on. The definition of stupid is often said to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I think we can quite easily argue the BDA continue to do the same thing over and over again…..

No doubt many of the BDA hierarchy will be offended at this piece; but quite frankly they perhaps need to be. I’m sure there will be suggestions that I should put my money where my mouth is and stand for the PEC. Perhaps they are right. But since I don’t have all the answers I shouldn’t put myself forward as a leader of the profession. But even if I did, the problem with this is that one person will always come up against the establishment, which believes ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’ and ‘we must think of the members’. Paralysis by fear of the unknown results. It would need a radical change to the entire structure and I’m not convinced the more traditionalist members within the BDA would go for that. Open up votes to those disillusioned and no longer members of the BDA then it might be a completely different situation, but then that obviously couldn’t happen.

I’m sure those most annoyed with this blog will be those who have the least reason to be because they probably feel I am not acknowledging the things that the BDA have actually achieved. I’m not having a go at any individuals; but it’s those who wear the BDA badge and don’t do anything vocally, visibly, or productively to manifest change. Being hamstrung by the often archaic position of the trade union often means it is easier to maintain the status quo or just score pyrrhic victories than really trying to elicit the change that is needed.

The recent membership questionnaire is a start to finding out just what members think; the problem is it’s not the members they need to be asking how the BDA can engage more. The very people who are disillusioned with the BDA are not going to be members by definition. Bleating on about joining so your voice can be heard is beginning to wear a bit thin to many of us I’m fairly sure; why join something so you can submit a survey once in a blue moon especially when they refuse to listen to why you might not be a member? It’s a Catch 22 situation that needs to be broken.
 

The BDA needs to ask the ENTIRE profession what it thinks about it. The GDC seems like it is going to try to engage with us as a result of unprecedented problems and the change in executive manpower bringing a fresh look at the issues. If they can do it when constrained by legislation then there is no reason the BDA can’t either.

Its time for the BDA to show just what sort of leaders they really have.

  5327 Hits
5327 Hits
JUN
16
0

Behind the smiles

Behind the smiles

 

 

The BDA Benevolent Fund bought a smile to people’s faces at this year’s BDA Conference. They came armed with a photo-booth full of fun props to spread the word about how their support changes lives. Dentists from every corner of the UK need to know that if disaster strikes, they will not be alone. By giving one-off and regular grants to help those in need, the BDA Benevolent Fund is often the only lifeline when there is nothing else to hold on to. It’s not only about financial aid either, but support, comfort and friendship.

(Pictured above having fun with the Benevolent Fund is GDPUK's very own Michael Watson)

The fact is none of us is immune to sudden misfortune or a dramatic change in circumstances; a curveball can get thrown at any time. Think about it: how would you and your family cope if you had to stop work for any reason? Who would you turn to for help? The Fund is showing that, as a profession, we look after our own and will be there for colleagues who are going through dark times.

 

Conference delegates who stopped by the stand had the opportunity to meet with some of the Trustees, and find out about the diverse range of cases the charity has helped. Chronic illness and injury can mean lengthy time off work, as can family problems like divorce or bereavement and issues around personal debt. Sudden redundancy can set off a dramatic chain of events if the dentist is the breadwinner, with a family to support.

 

Modern dentists face a challenging and unique mix of pressures that can affect their mental wellbeing, such as ever-changing targets and regulations, keeping up-to-date with technology and techniques and making a decent living in a competitive industry. In its 2015 Annual Report, the Fund notes that a significant number of applicants had experienced stress-related illnesses. Accepting help is needed is the first (and probably the hardest) step, but once a dentist has made the call, their case has been assessed and a decision made, they can be sure of a timely intervention.

 

The testimonials from dentists who have been helped by the Fund really do speak for themselves. Recent recipients have said: “The way the profession has responded has been overwhelming,” “No-one can appreciate how important your work is until they need your help” and “There is a big light at the end of the tunnel and now I am confident I will come out at the other side”. Comments like these are reasons why raising awareness at industry events is so vital. An independent charity, the BDA Benevolent Fund is supported by a committee of volunteer dentists and, with no assistance from the government, is reliant on the generosity of donations. Behind the wigs, feather boas and cheesy grins, the BDA Conference was all about the essential promotion of Fund’s vital work.

 

The BDA Benevolent Fund exists to shine a light in times of trouble and show that brighter days can be just around the corner. Support the Fund and you will not only be helping dentists who have found themselves in desperate need, but you will be laying the foundations of support for future generations too. Find out more, then spread the word. Regular donations mean the Fund can reach out to even more people and the easiest way to donate is online, via the secure Just Giving page. One day, it might be you who has to make that call.

 

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.

https://www.facebook.com/bdabenenevolentfund/
 

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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2295 Hits
JUN
02
0

Flagship system solution proves a hit at British Dental Conference.

Flagship system solution proves a hit at British Dental Conference.

 

For Dentists looking to review their practice management system options at the British Dental Conference this year, it will have been refreshing to meet with a team who were at hand to demonstrate exactly why their flagship system software could make a real and sustainable long term difference to the Practice bottom line.

And it’s no surprise that given their personal, helpful approach and backed by such solid industry knowledge and expertise, founded by a dentist in the 1980’s, that the trained specialists on their stand created a buzz of excitement at the 3 day show.

Driven by a clear and deep understanding of what Dental Practices need from a leading edge intuitive practice management system, their development insight, achieved over nearly thirty years proved a winning hit with visitor interest from far and wide.

Developed on an iterative cycle of research, build, test, launch and review and predicated against totally listening to what Dentists need from the support of a robust and innovative dental practice management system, V6 Dental Practice Management Software presented those interested with a truly integrated and agile solution.

Featuring cutting edge modules, functionality and systems benefits that ranged from go paperless solutions to 24/7 real time online appointment booking, up to the minute management information, and data integrity and security and on-line system back up,  V6 offered everything needed to succeed operationally and streamline practice management.

And it was the company’s aim at the conference that their valued clients and those visitors interested in their system should not only benefit from information on the very latest in leading edge software developments and unparalleled systems support. Not only that, but they were also given the opportunity to gain valuable hands on experience with the very latest available in practise management innovations and technology advances.

And the beckon of a truly unique and supported user and customer experience  wasn’t the only reason why increasing numbers of visitors to the conference chose to take a closer look at Systems for Dentists; The appeal of their Dental Practice Management software was made more attractive by the offer of a fully integrated package of features included within the price, coupled with time, money and efficiency savings end even the option to go paperless, making paper signatures almost a thing of the past with the companies introduction to their peripherals range of Wireless Signature Pads.

As a credible and trusted brand, and with almost thirty years’ experience in systems software development and a profound knowledge of the UK dental software market, dentists looking to make a positive change to their practice management in 2016 could be confident that Systems for Dentists could provide what they needed.

And beyond their exciting range of software solutions and feature rich product options, visitors also discovered an unparalleled level of customer service second to none, ensuring exceptional levels of client support and making the process of transferring to a new system if required both effortless and operationally seamless.

Systems for Dentists offered a warm welcome to visitors who dropped on to their stand at the British Dental Conference, 26-28 May 2016.

 

For further information contact:

Nathan Ross at Systems for Dentists on

Direct line: 0845 643 2828

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  2397 Hits
2397 Hits
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: http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/04/WHR15.pdf [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]

 

  2917 Hits
2917 Hits
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

 

 

  2259 Hits
2259 Hits
DEC
22

'Tis the season ...

'Tis the season ...

...to be Jolly, fah-la-la-la-la,la-lah-lah-lahhh

 

It is the season of Goodwill to all Men [and Women of course]. Too much food, a touch too much liquid spirit, and comfy armchair beckon for many, while Granny sups the sherry.

It is a time of year to reconnect with family, and let loose the strings of attachment with dentistry.

It has been quite a year.  If anyone has recently been affected by the extreme weather and flooding, you will have our deepest sympathy and best wishes.

 

TWTYTW

 

We have a new CDO[NHS England]  who seems to have big dreams. While her grip on reality is yet to be proven, her grip on mission creep is patently in doubt too as the New NHS Contract slides back another year.  When does evidence seeking become procrastination I wonder? 

 

Let’s not forget to toast the former CDO [NHS England] spinning the revolving door of Corporate employment. A nice little earner, some might cynically say; I could not possibly comment.  For sure, the numbers-merchants all seem in agreement.  Corporate Dentistry is a House of Cards just waiting for the crutches to be kicked away.

 

What about our soon-to-be ex-Chief Executive Officer of that great body in Wimpole Street.  I wonder how many cards of goodwill she really will receive? Goodwill to Dental Colleagues has been the byword on her watch… NOT!

 

And then of course our congratulations to the newly elected members of the BDAs Principal Executive Committee.  Is it me or is a vote of 1900 on a membership of 18000 a 10% turnout?  Is a 10% turnout the sign of a well engaged campaign and a profession with fire in their belly?  Hmmm, thought as much. 

 

So there is much to be done and as ever so little time to do it. 

 

Crystal balls, anyone?

 

Maybe 2016 will be the year that as a profession of 100,000 like-minded souls we unite into one influential body, instead of Nurses here, Therapists there, Dental Technicians under the table, Dentists arguing and never agreeing, LDCs bangin’ on to no avail, the BDA in constant denial and the FGDP worrying about ‘stuff’.  No wonder the Government can run rings around us all.

 

To you all, I bid you a Happy Christmas and an Utterly-Butterly Joyful New Year.

 

In the South, we Sassenachs favour the early celebration. North of the border of course, our Scots colleagues will be awaiting the excesses of Hogmanay.  To our non-Christian colleagues, we know you will join us in celebration in whatever way suits.

 

But wait:

 

What is this with Santa’s paw prints all over it? A PSA Report I see? Now this is a Festive card of gargantuan size.

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the Dental Profession, now you know why the Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the GDC has pulled the Ejection Seat firing handle and is departing.

 

A report on the investigation into the General Dental Council’s handling of a whistleblower’s disclosure about the Investigating Committee 21 December 2015

 

This is a 270 Page report on the investigation into the General Dental Council’s handling of a whistleblower’s disclosure about the Investigating Committee dated 21 December 2015, but from events through the previous 3 years.

My goodness me. I take it all back.  The PSA do have teeth, they are most certainly sharp and their Regulatory jaws have closed around the neck of the GDC.

 

Close typed pages of absolute dynamite. Evidence based critical analysis of what the GDC did with your ARF that led to it having to be increased...A pantomime with an unbelievable plot by any other description.

 

Please do go read it Ladies and Gentlemen.  2016 may indeed be “The Year”

 

I also urge you to read it in the context of Dr Alyson Lockyer's brave attempt to drive this agenda in 2011 with the PSA in their report entitled An investigation into concerns raised by the former Chair of the General Dental Council Advice to the Department of Health February 2013

Many would say  she was right all along. How sad it has taken this long to prove it

 

Broadsword calling Billy Boy  …  Broadsword calling Billy Boy

 

Dr Moyes? Are you reading this…  You know what you should do.  Prove to us that you are the honourable and ethical Gentleman we believe you to be.

As should the whole Council, given the implications of poor oversight.

 

Pull up the table, You get the mulled wine, I’ll get the nibbles. Just feast on these nuggets of you will.

 

  • 6. Overall conclusions
  • What was the outcome of the failings in the Investigating Committee processes and support during 2013?
  • 6.1 The outcome was that the independence (and perceptions about the independence) of the GDC’s Investigating Committee were jeopardised by various practices that were designed to improve the quality and consistency of the Investigating Committee’s decision making, but which at the same time sought to restrict the Committee’s autonomy to an extent that infringed upon the appropriate separation of powers within a regulator. This could have had very serious implications for the GDC in terms of the robustness of decision making, potential judicial review actions and the consequent reputational damage. Those practices also had serious implications for the culture that developed in the Investigating Committee Secretariat, which in turn affected the working relationships between some Investigating Committee members and the Secretariat team.
  • 6.2  “   Changes had been made to the reasoning of Investigating Committee decision documents after the event and without appropriate authorisation … “
  • 6.14 …”The Chief Executive is ultimately accountable for the decisions taken about the level of information disclosed to the GDC’s committees and the Council, staff and GDC associates. The Chief Executive also had several opportunities to identify the seriousness of the problems emerging, even if they were not properly brought to their attention.”

 

And finally

Sub note 257, with my highlighting of the PSA final words in the Report. Hah!  Pass that English Sparkling Wine, dear - the one that knocks spots off Champagne ...

 

Here's to 2016 dear colleagues.

 

  • 257 We note that the Chief Executive has responded to our conclusion by stating that they believe that they acted appropriately and quickly in response to each risk as soon as it became apparent, and that they reported fairly and fully to the Audit/Audit and Risk Committee and the Council. The Chief Executive has stated to us that their view is that they have responded to each of the “shocks” that have occurred to the GDC with honesty and transparency and by taking appropriate action. In response to seeing a draft of this report the GDC has said that the Chief Executive’s reliance upon the former Director of Regulation was reasonable, has noted that the Authority’s 2012/13 performance review of the GDC did not identify problems relating to the Investigating Committee, and has referred to the fact that no complaints had been made by the Investigating Committee members, and has drawn the conclusion that the Chief Executive could not have had visibility of the problems emerging in these circumstances.
  • We [The PSA] do not agree

 

 

 

Try this by the way

http://www.englishorganicwine.co.uk/products/pinot-noir-chardonnay-2013-organic

 

Happy Christmas to one and all, and especially all our colleagues trying to level the GDC Playing Field.

 

 

 

 

  6067 Hits
6067 Hits
DEC
03

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

b2ap3_thumbnail_PP2013_logo_Final1-2.jpg

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.
  5452 Hits
5452 Hits
NOV
30

In need at Noel: offering financial support to those who need it the most

In need at Noel: offering financial support to those who need it the most

The Christmas countdown is upon us, and the boxes on the calendar will be ticked off leading up to the season of fun and festivities. Whilst this is exciting for many, it can be a daunting time for some.

This holiday season, some will struggle to put food on the table and pay their bills, let alone buy presents and indulge in festive treats. Indeed, the number of Britons expected to borrow money for basic living this Christmas could be high as 21%.[i]

The country is also experiencing an increase in the use of food banks, with 2014-2015 statistics showing a 19% rise since last year,[ii] and it is thought that 2,744 are sleeping rough on any one night. [iii] Poverty, perhaps, is closer to home than we thought.

Needing help

Despite advancements in technology and the implementation of ergonomic friendly products within surgeries, work-related illness and injury remains the biggest cause of financial struggle. Figures from 2013/2014 show that 1.2 million working people were affected by this and as a result 28.2 million working days were lost.[iv]

Accidents, bereavement, stress, addiction, marital problems and mental health are other possible factors that unsettle financial stability, impacting everyone from dentists to their dependants, friends and colleagues.

A helping hand

In times of hardship help can come in many forms; a shoulder to lean on can sometimes be enough. But for many, financial aid is required for food and clothing, bills and mortgage payments, nursing home fees and even funeral costs.

Although the Summer Budget 2015 recently made cuts, benefits are still available up to a possible £23,000 in London and £20,000 in the rest of the UK.[v] Yet, research has shown that some people are too embarrassed to seek help and as much as £19 billion in state benefits can go unclaimed each year.[vi]

At some point or another most of us need help, which is why the BDA Benevolent Fund works to provide support to any registered UK dentist in financial need. With help from other professionals, regular donations and gift aid, the Fund provides one-off or regular grants to those who need it most. The difference that this can make at any time, let alone Christmas, is immeasurable.

A donation can help someone in need and make their Christmas worth celebrating.

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

 



[i] Accessed online 9 July 2015 http://www.moneyadvicetrust.org/media/news/Pages/Warning-as-Britons-put-Christmas-on-credit.aspx

[ii] Accessed online 9 July 2015 themoneycharity.org.uk/media/Debt-Stats-Full-January-2014-pdf

[iv] Accessed online 9 July 2015 http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/

[v] Accessed online 9 July 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-july-2015

[vi] Accessed online 9 July 2015 https://www.turn2us.org.uk/About-Us/Research-and-Insights/On-borrowed-money-on-borrowed-time-payday-loans

 

  2501 Hits
2501 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

  4350 Hits
4350 Hits
NOV
08
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Happiness and the science of giving - BDA Benevolent Fund

Happiness and the science of giving - BDA Benevolent Fund

According to the World Happiness Report 2015, released earlier this year, the UK is the 21st happiest country in the world. While, as a country, we fall behind the United States, Australia, the Nordic countries and Switzerland (which is smiling in the number one spot) we contentedly remain in the happiest 20% of the 158 countries that have been included in the study.[1]

 

A number of different variables are taken into account in order to assess the happiness of a country. These include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity. Of these, generosity has one of the highest positives affects on people and produces the lowest negative affect overall.  

 

To evaluate a population’s generosity, participants were asked, “Have you donated to a charity in the past month?” The most recent survey of its kind, the UK Giving Report 2014, found that 57% of adults in this country gave to charitable causes in a typical month – meaning that around 34 million people were extending their financial generosity to people in need to the estimated sum of £10.6 billion.[2] But while this is an encouraging statistic, how does it have an impact on the overall happiness of the country?      

 

Research has shown that people who are giving money to charity exhibit heightened brain activity – particularly in the ventral striatum and tegmental areas. These areas are closely linked to the experience of positive affect and our physiological reward system and the processing of emotional output from the amygdala.[3] What this means is that giving to a worthwhile cause triggers a chemical reaction in our brains that produces a sense of reward and positive emotion. The same areas of the brain are stimulated when we ourselves are given good news or receive something we want, but studies have shown that giving is the better stimulant, corroborating the common adage that ‘it is better to give than receive.’

 

It has also been proven that doing good for others can benefit our own mental and physical health[4] as well as being an important, pro-social function that contributes to the overall wellbeing of the country. Of course, while it is nice that being charitable makes us feel better, the impact on the people we are giving to is far more important. Being able to depend on the generosity of our peers is a real indicator of a population’s happiness and will make a real difference for the people who are most in need. Circumstance and chance can too easily force any one of us to the brink of desperation and knowing there is a network of support built on the goodwill of others, who are ready and willing to provide help, is a comforting reality.

 

Established in 1882, the BDA Benevolent Fund has been providing this type of vital support for decades. By offering essential financial assistance for everyday expenses they can bring much-needed relief to dentists and their families, when all other avenues of income fail.

 

Depending entirely on your generous donations, the BDA Benevolent Fund needs your continued support to carry on helping dentists and their families when times are tough. Help support your colleagues and donate to the BDA Benevolent Fund today.

 

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: http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/04/WHR15.pdf [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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A helping hand for smooth selling | Dental Elite

A helping hand for smooth selling

Selling a dental practice can be stressful, especially when it comes to completing the CQC Registration Process. Since changes to the paperwork on 1st April 2015, it is more crucial than ever to ensure the form is populated correctly and accurately.

 

As a leading specialist in practice finance, sales and valuations, Dental Elite is dedicated to providing first class advice that helps simplify the process of selling your practice, referring the contract and deregistering as the owner.

For just a small fee, the majority of which is donated to charity, Dental Elite is offering a not-for-profit service for anyone requiring CQC application support.

Because Dental Elite understands what selling a practice means to you, it works alongside charities BDA Benevolent Fund and Bridge2Aid, investing its time and money back into the dental community.

Anyone already buying, selling or financing with Dental Elite will receive this service included as standard for free.

Contact the friendly, profession team at Dental Elite today and discover how it can help you with your sale and CQC application.

 

For more information visit www.dentalelite.co.uk, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01788 545 900

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18
1

Spiralling Morale …

Spiralling Morale …

Welcome back to the Indian Summer of tropical rain…

There was a time when those of use of a certain age [OK Old if you will, but take that tone out of your voice!] decided to pursue dentistry for many reasons one of which was the life time career of care which happened to be comfortably paid.  Professional life was stable, practice management was an ongoing process. Interestingly by and large we saw all the patients who wanted to be seen and managed their dental needs without any political calls for damage limitation of a crisis of “Access”. Those of us so inclined went home for a celebratory glass of cheap Chateau Rinse de Bouche over an FP17. [For those of our younger colleagues unfamiliar with such things, these were the old claim forms that allowed a course of treatment to be ‘claimed’]

Complaints were rare. The GDC were a body to whom one looked up in awe and respect, and yet who played little part in day to day practice. Indemnity was low cost as was the ARF.  At some point in one’s career one would make the decision to up the standards of ones work and seek to change the way one practiced. It was a cycle of professional life.

Meetings [long before CPD became a fashion statement] were a cacophony of chit chat about practice matters.

Morale I would be so bold as to say was always, broadly, high

So what on earth has happened? How do we find ourselves at the edge of a perfect storm of change for the worse?

The GDC are a runaway train of high cost complaints handling and we are all paying through the nose and other orifices too, I should think.  The persistent arrogance and lack of accountability of the GDC and its leadership remain a real cause for concern.  A worry in part because they affect us but we do seem to be able to affect them, nor can the PSA, it seems.

Just look at Indemnity as an example. On the one hand it is a significant chunk of income on an annual basis, now being compulsory [so the lawyers can REALLY get their teeth into you]. On the other hand, despite reassurances, there is a pervasive sensation that they will dig you out of a shallow pit of excrement, but if you are truly up to your neck they may simply leave you to flounder. A worry in part because they affect us but we cannot affect them.

Now we have news of the falling away of dentist incomes.  In a separate and apposite piece of Government news, even that respected statistical body HSCIC, thinks morale is a worry amongst dentists. Now incomes falling is hardly news because most of us have noticed this in the last 5 years.  How? Well, we run these efficient Micro-Businesses, Minister and produce the annual accounts.

Practice Plan’s latest Confidence Monitor is hardly an advert for happy campers under the Governments clinical cosh that is the UDA.  The vast majority of the NHS dependent sector must be feeling very uneasy.

What has caused this change of circumstance?  Why are all the pointers suddenly running the wrong way?  If morale is a precarious state of mind, all this news must surely cause the spiral of decline to turn more quickly unless something is done?

 

Can morale fall, like the rain, in stair-rods?

Now hold on Dr Prism … Dentists are a resilient bunch – we get by, we generally don’t moan, and we take the rough with the smooth because, let’s face it, there are many worse off than us and despite what the Daily Fail et al may say, we do have a social conscience.

In our day to day work, we [you me and all the other GDPs] take personal responsibility for our situation. It is up to us to be happy … or not as the case may be.  It is up to us to run our businesses. All good so far.

But for the bigger external problems we rely upon an external body to do our work for us.  We reply upon our Academic colleagues to lay out the ground for evidence based clinical practice. Not some random bunch of Red Braces in Wimpole Street who would not know a dental practice if it hit them on the head! We rely upon a representative body to keep the bad news at bay – to fight off the bad guys as it were.

 

Where are the BDA as our ‘Union’?

Perhaps they themselves experiencing a decline in morale as time and again they fail to make an impact against the onslaught of Government regulation and initiative?  Not so long ago there was the change of subscription system and I seem to recall there was a ‘bit of a fuss’.  Even on a professional matter such as obesity and the sugar debate, it was the medical fraternity that snatched the victory, and the BDA were left to issue a “told you so” PR statement which barely caused a public ripple.  

 

Perhaps the lesson of influence here was that we need strategic alliances to amplify our voice and our influence.

 

Why is the BDA so effective on so many levels of “back office” matters and yet on the “Front Line” of headline influence and involvement, it is abjectly falling short. Why is it that as a body of 20000 dentists, they are neither first to be thought of in the media domain nor are they regarded with respect by our political masters?

Incomes … the UDA system …  the Prototypes … the CQC … the GDC and its quisling Dental members …  the GDC and it expansionist ambitions … FtP … more FtP … Professional Morale  … a vision for UK dental care …  Children’s Dental Health … Young dentists and early training...  Planning for Tiers ...   the list goes on where as members [and non-members] we cry out for some serious bloody Bolshiness – and time and again we feel they fall short. Too busy having ‘polite meetings’? You might say that, but I could not possibly comment.

By and large of course those who are in private practice are able to manage their lives and rise above the challenges of NHS practice.  This indeed is reflected in the consistent theme of the HSCIC, Practice Plan and others: their findings relate to NHS practice

 

So if the NHS GDP is the poor bloody infantry, who are their Generals? 

 

Well certainly not the new CDO, ironically Colonel [Retired], who is happy to discuss the present and future problems on the same stage as the very man who was their architect, now relishing his role as a non–exec director for a leading Corporate.

The sign of poor morale in an organisation can be its collective ineffectiveness of leadership.

Perhaps the problem of spiralling morale in GDPs is in part due to a perception of low morale at the BDA?

For sure as profession we need a dose of Feelgood Salts and a good kick where it hurts. 

The season is underway.

 

The BDA need to start scoring some goals.

It’s not like the ball is not in the open, and for sure the net is wide open.  The NHS GDP needs its leaders, its “Generals”, to start doing more than limply waving a PR flag.  I suspect members would prefer one action over the hundred words of a glossy Press Release.

Can it really be a year since we and the BDA all went up in arms over the ARF change?  A fine campaign of action but has 2015 seen it followed through?…  It’s a sad reflection that, as no doubt predicted by Madame Gilvarry and Dr Moyes, the ARF is now seen as small beer – have you looked at your Indemnity bill?

 

Get a grip BDA.

Start earning your members fees.  Before a large part of the profession withers under your watchful gaze. 

The signs are out there. How many more hints do you need?

 

Weblinks:

New report looks at motivation and morale of primary care dentists  http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6675/New-report-looks-at-motivation-and-morale-of-primary-care-dentists

Dental Earnings and Expenses - 2013-14  http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB18376

The first NHS Confidence Monitor  https://www.practiceplan.co.uk/dental-plans/the-nhs-confidence-monitor

 

BDA Current Press Releases  https://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases

New CDO to speak at therapists conference  https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/2004-new-cdo-to-speak-at-therapists-conference

 

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Chris Tavares

Paragraph 6

I presume it's a typo error. Should read: "We don't seem to be able to affect them...+ A good summary of the state of affaires a... Read More
Monday, 21 September 2015 08:03
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AUG
06

Support your fellows with the BDA Benevolent Fund

Support your fellows with the BDA Benevolent Fund

The BDA Benevolent Fund provides essential emotional and financial support to dentists and their families in severe need. Below is an example of just one of the many beneficiaries the Fund has helped.

 

Dr G was a dentist of 44 years old. He sold his practice after he had suffered health problems, mainly due to the stress of running a practice and dealing with the changes in contractual procedures. He began working as a locum dentist and was delighted when his wife became pregnant with their second child. Unfortunately his wife experienced a traumatic pregnancy and found it difficult to care for their children, putting more pressure on Dr G. Worrying about his family sparked off his depression, which led to time off sick and marriage problems, in time leading to a separation from his wife. Gradually the stress and anxiety caused a mental breakdown and he had to take a break from work.

 

Dr G had been earning a good income when he was working, but this had since stopped leaving him with massive debts. He had initially managed to keep all his bills up to date, but gradually his savings disappeared and he was unable to pay monthly bills or towards costs to support his family. When he approached the Fund he was embarking on the process of returning to work as a dentist after receiving appropriate support with his health, but his many debts and little income left him struggling. He also needed to ensure his CPD was up to date and was concerned about how he would pay for this.

 

Dr G’s confidence had been severely affected by his recent experiences but he was determined to get back to work as soon as he could. He was now dealing with his anxiety and was in the process of rebuilding his marriage and sorting out his financial affairs. The Fund was able to offer him a grant to help with immediate expenses and a monthly grant towards his living costs.

 

This is just one of the many success stories from the Fund. To enable them to continue helping people to get their lives back on track they need your support. Giving a regular donation, however small, could make a huge difference to someone’s quality of life.

 

Donating online could not be easier, set up a JustGiving account today and support your fellow dentists who urgently require your help.

 

The BDA Benevolent Fund relies on your help to continue this work,
so please contact us at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit 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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AUG
06

BDA Benevolent Fund holds AGM

BDA Benevolent Fund holds AGM

This year’s BDA Benevolent Fund Annual General Meeting was held on the 19 June at the British Dental Association’s headquarters in London.

 

Chaired by BDA President and Fund Patron, Professor Nairn Wilson CBE, the meeting provided a fantastic opportunity to review all of the Fund’s recent achievements and look forward to the coming year. 

In addition, officers of the Fund were duly elected, with Dr Ann Rockey named Chairman, Dr Bill Nichols as Vice-Chairman, Professor Ros Keeton named Honorary Treasurer and Dr Allan Franklin as Honorary Secretary.  

Providing much-needed assistance to UK dentists and their families who are struggling financially, the Fund provided grants and loans totalling £175,000 in 2014.  The Fund depends upon the generosity of the profession to continue this work and would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your ongoing support.

 

To give a donation today please go to www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk or if you, or a colleague you know, are in need of help, please contact us on 020 7486 4994 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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JUN
15

Helping you help the dental community - Dental Elite

Helping you help the dental community - Dental Elite

Practice valuers and finance experts at Dental Elite are now offering new online CQC Application Support, so you never have to worry about filling in difficult CQC applications again.
 

This service is now available for purchase to anyone – not just for those with transactions being financed or sold by Dental Elite – and what’s better, after a small administration fee, all proceeds will be generously donated to one of the participating dental charities, including Bridge2Aid and the BDA Benevolent Fund. For current clients, this service is completely free but Dental Elite will still make a donation of £150 to the client’s dental charity of choice.
 

With a team that is proud to have over a hundred years of experience in the dental sector, Dental Elite is in an ideal position to help professionals in all aspects of selling their practice. By partnering with a number of different charities, they can make sure this help is extended to the entire dental community.
 

To discover what else Dental Elite can do for you, contact their friendly team today.
 

 

For more information and to find out how Dental Elite can value
and assist your practice sale visit
www.dentalelite.co.uk, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01788 545 900

 

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DEC
14
0

2015!

2015 - Predictions & Resolutions

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NOV
03
0

Acronyms

Acronyms

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SEP
05
0

Immovable Object meets Irresistible Force

Immovable Object meets Irresistible Force

What happens when an Immovable Object meets an Irresistible Force?

 

Impasse. And so it would appear to have been for the last couple of weeks after the initial thrust of the BDA’s threats, and the parry and riposte of the GDC’s response.

 

However, I always thought it was going to be right at the end of the ‘consultation’ process that the BDA would make their next attack, and as we have seen yesterday, Mick Armstrong has told the GDC in no uncertain terms ‘ it’s 1 minute to midnight’. Waiting until the last minute has made sure the Judicial Review can’t be halted or paused to allow the consultation to finish, had it been launched prematurely and has made sure the GDC don’t get to see the BDA’s hand of cards early.

 

But this hasn’t actually seen the announcement of the BDA taking legal action to go to Judicial Review, and as such I bet a lot of people will be disappointed if they just look at this video superficially. I can see the posts on GDPUK forum that this is just BDA posturing again, and they haven’t the guts to carry out the threat.

 

But if you read the full press release as well as watching the video, and especially take time to look at the additional information within the release regarding the figures in the consultation, it is obvious the BDA are actually giving the GDC a final chance to back down. The GDC will suffer a humiliating loss of face if they do, but we as registrants and members won’t then have to foot both sets of legal bills.

 

I don’t get the impression Mick Armstrong is messing about when he says the BDA are committed to following this through. But as a fellow Yorkshireman I appreciate the sporting nature of letting your opponents know you’re going to hit them, hard, and give them a final chance to back down. But you only do that once you know you have the upper hand. The BDA might not have a Royal Flush, but it seems like the GDC only has a pair of Jokers at the moment. Reading the documents attached to the BDA’s submission leaves one in no doubt of the intention of the BDA to go to JR.

 

By engaging the services of a FORENSIC accountancy company the BDA appear to have pulled off a masterstroke; utilizing the skills of professionals specializing in detecting high level fraud, regulatory scrutiny and anti-corruption, and then publishing a précis of the findings publically must surely send the a big signal to the GDC that the BDA is not playing brinkmanship here, but actually means business. This is serious stuff now, and the BDA have now shown their cards to the GDC by revealing financial inconsistencies are what the JR will probably be based on.  

 

The forensic analysis of the accounts has apparently shown the GDC’s own published figures for the ARF hike are somewhat contradictory. These inconsistencies not only call into question the validity of the need for the ARF increase by questioning the basic level of evidence, but the inconsistency of the figures must surely now call into question the bigger picture of the integrity of the GDC in all of its financial matters. Whether this is part of the Judicial Review or not, the financial matters of the GDC must be impeccable, and they appear not to be.

 

The analysis of the figures would appear to go beyond the fact insufficient and inconsistent information has been given to registrants so they can’t actually make an informed response to the consultation. It seems to confirm the GDC is actually so contemptuous of us as intelligent people that they feel they can knowingly release confusing figures, expect us to then swallow the ARF rise, (after what we have all agreed is a sham consultation) and carry on as before. If a dentist were to confuse a patient in that manner, it would be cause for a registrant to be hauled before the GDC. Alternatively, it suggests incompetency and a lack of communication in the organizational structure of the GDC. Once again, they are grounds for a registrant to appear before the regulator. Whichever way you look at it (and it may be a combination of the two), our professional association appears to now have more robust evidence of the failings of the regulator and is prepared to act on it.

 

However since the GDC’s regulator is the PSA, and they seem to be about as threatening as a periodontally compromised 3 legged chihuahua with trismus and a sore throat, and as much use as a pair of waterproof sandals then you can’t really blame the GDC for not being too worried about the consequences of their actions.

 

Judging by the interview with Ms Gilvarry in Dentistry magazine, she doesn’t have appeared to understand what the profession is finding such a problem with. The penny certainly hasn’t dropped with her; perhaps this is because there aren’t actually any spare pennies left to drop at the GDC since their accounts seem to be in such a tangle.

 

But surely there must now be a realization by at least someone in power at the GDC that the BDA and the profession as a whole just might have a point. It would be useful if it dawned on them simultaneously that they have picked a fight with what seems to be a quickly developing Irresistible Force.

 

And they as the Immovable Object appear to have some ominous cracks developing, which wouldn’t do them a lot of good if they continue on the course they seem hell bent on taking…….

 

 

Image credit - James Cridland  under CC licence - not modified.

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AUG
22
0

Swarm theory - what's buzzing?

Swarm theory - what's buzzing?
Welcome back if you have been away.  Isn’t it lovely to get back to the predictable routines of work after the manic family reunions on a beach somewhere?!  Just over 100 days to Chr… Oops’ sorry, it’s the C word :)  [1]
 
Have you got your cheque books ready? How old am I? Sorry, have you got your debit cards ready?
 
Unless I am reading the autumnal tea leaves incorrectly, the ARF will be heading up to dizzy heights in December.  The brief storm of professional unity, demonstrated by the lightning strikes of letters to MP’s, the heavy rainfall of FoI requests to the GDC,  the storm surge of letters to the Professional Standards Authority seems to have failed to break down the defences of the GDC Bunker.
 
The Chairman has been giving us the ‘Agincourt wave’ while the Chief Executive continues to see spending millions on a building upgrade while watching reserve funds drain way as a good way to go to work each day. Easy money innit?
 
What have we achieved, other than a smug sense of self-satisfaction?  Anything? Anything at all?
 
The BDA have taken the view that the legality of the consultation is the weak point to aim for. We shall see, but I for one am hesitant to be overly optimistic on that front.
 
 The phoney war of words, with the GDC threatening claims for damages upon the BDA suggest that if the BDA is to slug this one out, there will be a loser and the price of  losing will be very heavy.  Ironically the profession pays the legal costs of this stand-off either way.  Any victory will look somewhat Pyrrhic. [2]
 
So to those of us simply plying our trade, it looks like next year will see a big rise on the ARF, and a big rise in indemnity costs.  Oh for the heady days when the CQC were the bad guys! [3]
 
What does it take for a disparate group of headstrong entrepreneurial prima donnas such as dentists [for indeed that is what we are] to unite in action which WILL cause change in a gargantuan untouchable body such as the GDC, all fancy and dandy in their ivory tower?
 
Perhaps we need to swarm? [4]
 
 
Perhaps we can learn from our animals &insects – bees and ants, shoals of fish, herds of caribou, you name it. 
 
Please do read that fascinating article on National Geographic. Here are some gems for you to think about:
 
Honeybees have evolved ways to work through individual differences of opinion to do what's best for the colony
How swarm intelligence works: simple creatures following simple rules, each one acting on local information. No ant sees the big picture. No ant tells any other ant what to do.
The bees' rules for decision-making—seek a diversity of options, encourage a free competition among ideas, and use an effective mechanism to narrow choices
 
We need to understand that we do not need to know the big picture, but for our collective action to be effective we must act as a swarm.  The history of our profession suggests that never have we ever acted in such a way.   The history of the BDA confirms the difficulty they have had over the years firing up swarm or herd like behaviour.
 
Perhaps now, after all, we have started to demonstrate some features of a swarm. Perhaps we should hope that as the year peters out, we become an effective by all working together in a collective manner.
 
Perhaps then, the theory suggests, we will cause change at the GDC
 
The GDC can say and do what it likes to us as individuals, and indeed is doing so with belligerent arrogance. Government wrote their rules and there ain’t nothing we can do about it.
 
OR
 
As a united colony of dentists with swarm like activity.
 
This summer has seen a taster of what we can achieve. But everyone needs to play their part.
 
  • 30000 angry letters to MP’s WILL count.
  • 30000 angry letters to the GDC WILL count.
  • 30000 angry letters to the PSA WILL count
  • 30000 angry dentists arriving at the GDC on a chosen day to pay their ARF WILL really get their attention
  • 100,000 letter from dentists and DCPs – now THAT will really get attention!
 
If you have not played your part, the swarm cannot work.  If you have not written your letters, why not?  It is a small act for all of us to act in the better interest of our "colony", the profession at large.
 
We need to reach that critical mass where not only do they listen in Wimpole Street but they also act.  "Listening"  in that "Quankeresque" manner is not enough!  If there is a role for the BDA it is to develope the dental swarm.
 
Get buzzing boys and girls, we are not there yet. This battle is far from over, but it is also far from won.
 
For more on Swarm Theory – start here
 
  5839 Hits
5839 Hits
AUG
12
2

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.

  7183 Hits
Recent Comments
Chas Lister

Gender issue

that's a cockerel not a chicken ... Great words ST
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:35
James Spence

Playing Chicken with the BDA?

The BDA will win; that is the most likely scenario IMO. It will apply for costs and the GDC will be forced to pay. But that paymen... Read More
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 16:42
7183 Hits
JUL
28
0

To rant or not to rant ?

To rant or not to rant ?

That is indeed a question!!

Phew, what a scorcher

If you think the meteorological heat is oppressive, you want to try working in Wimpole Street. AirCon does nothing to relieve the heat of the pressure the GDC should be feeling.

What interesting, perhaps desperate times we live in.

The world is awash with wildfire wars with all the suffering that ensues.  The state of children’s teeth of those who do not ‘get’ the dental health message in this country remains an unresolved scandal.  Contract Reform of NHS Dentistry in England has become a fictional event of the future. The CDO England must be playing a lot of golf these days because there is naff all else going on. Dento-legal indemnity has started to rise in cost alarmingly as  the GDC and it’s woeful Fitness to Practise regime comes off the wheels.

But it takes a proposed rise in ARF to really galvanise the profession in a unanimous outpouring of anger.

 

Well directed anger?

This is being expressed in many ways – letters to MP’s, the professional Standards Authority, letters to the GDC allied to Freedom of Information requests to name but a few.  At meetings, the conversation is grim and consistent – it’s the GDC innit?

Even our old muckers the BDA have bared some teeth which, to judge by their public statements, are finally sharp enough to threaten injury.

What is happening so far can be summarised as a collective professional rant.  There is nothing wrong with that.  This process of ‘ranting’ is a precursor to something much more effective

It is well know that RANT is actually an acronym

 

The RANT acronym

 

  • Review your position
  • Analyse your options for Action
  • Notify interested parties of impending Action
  • Take action

 

Where are we?

I think we are heading out toward the last element, if only driven by the timescale.


A request for legal review, a BDA driven legal challenge, and protesting by payment in cash at the front desk of the GDC are just some of the actions being proposed.  What about resignation of a significant cadre of the dentists they need to make the processes and systems function?

 

What about calling for the resignation of the Dental Professional GDC members en masse?  It certainly seems to have merit.

 

Will the ARF be less than proposed? My money says “yes”

 

Will we see heads roll at the GDC?  The CEO, Ms Gilvarry for example? Its hard to see how her position can possibly remain tenable.  She certainly has lost our confidence, but I would imagine the GDC staff are pretty low as well.

What about our new appointed Chairman, Mr William Moyes?  His condescending e-mail to registrants allied to his Pendlebury Lecture suggest a level of isolation and ignorance that make you wonder how he ever got the job.  Based on his utterances so far, he simply does not get it.  Based on the lack of communication by the GDC’s Dental Professional members, I thinks its safe to assume the GDC has battened down the hatches and GDC Council Members are prevented from public comment. So much for transparency.  The ARF was not even an agenda item at the GDC Council meeting of 24 July.

 

Problem?  What problem?

The GDC have absolutely lost the confidence of the profession.  The have proved themselves to be the most incompetent of Regulatory bodies, and they are asking us to pay for their ineptitude.

 

The short answer Madam Chief Executive and Mr Chairman is “NO – NOT ON OUR WATCH”

 

You fix your problems first and we might talk then .

Until then, we will continue with the biggest professional RANT seen for many years.

Once again I profess my grateful thanks for the GDC’s role in uniting the profession, finally.

 

Enjoy your break people. Be assured, the heat will still be turned up when you return.

Yours, rantingly :)

  4317 Hits
4317 Hits
JUL
02
0

Dental angst pours out on social media

Dental angst pours out on social media

Social Media outpouring from UK dentists, against GDC ARF rise, July 2014.

 

Since news emerged at the very end of June that the General Dental Council [GDC]  was planning to raise its annual retention fee [ARF] from £576 to £945 per year for all dentists in the United Kingdom.  This coincided with an announcement of a consultation on the matter of this fee, yet the fait accompli of the rise proposed was publicised.

GDC maintains a register of all dentists working in the UK, and it remains illegal to practice any form of dentistry without this registration. This monopoly held by the dental profession is there to protect the public from imposters, and despite this serious registration process there are always queues of impending prosecutions of people who feel they can practice forms of dentistry without a degree, training, nor the proper registration and indemnity cover.

Dentists are livid and united about this unprecedented rise in costs by an increasingly out of touch, unjust body.

It appears the large rise has been caused by the exponential increase in complaints against dentists administered by the GDC, a very stressful process for dentists who remain innocent until findings are proven. GDC accepts cases, investigates, and will proceed with a risk to the professional future of a dentist even if there is a single incident of complaint. This wall of actions has led to delays and blockages in the GDC processes, something dentists are finding unacceptable, and this is one of the factors behind the social media congregations in the last 48 hours.

GDPUK has had a large rise in visitors, one thread on the topic has had over 90 replies from dentists within 36 hours of the first posting on the topic. Twitter has been ablaze, and on Facebook, one page, The Project, in which dentist Prem-Pal Sehmi has commenced a campaign for colleagues to pay £576 when the ARF becomes due next December has attracted more than 2400 colleagues on Facebook, also within a very short time frame. [At the time of writing]

https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE_Project/1378516855727456

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On twitter this image shows the sort of exchange progressing. The profession is like a bear which has been poked in the eye too many times, says Eddie Crouch of the BDA PEC and Birmingham LDC.

 

On the Government’s e-petitions page, Dr Vereen Gupta commenced a petition on the matter, and within 24 hours, this has over 5,500 signatories.

https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/66982

 

Statistics emerging on GDPUK show that the anger is derived from this rise in Fitness to Practice [FtP] cases, which GDC figures state are stand at 3,700 presently. There are around 24,000 dentists in general practice now, so almost 15% have a case against them. Foir na serious and learned profession, this alone shows the system is very wrong.

The Professional Standards Authority, which oversees the GDC, has reported its grave concerns with the running and governance of GDC, which seems to roll along, unfettered.

All the groups must unite and harness the energy being generated on this matter, so it is up to BDA, Facebook groups, GDPUK, Twitter devotees to keep up the pressure, ensure this campaign goes to the heart of its target.

 

 

 

 

  7521 Hits
7521 Hits
FEB
23
0

Challenge re-emerges

Challenge re-emerges

Chief Dental Officer for England issues a ‘Call to Action’ to the dental profession to help find workable solutions to the contractual problems that have beset the NHS general dental service since the introduction of the last set of contractual changes in 2006.

You’re a bit late getting to the party, Barry, but now you are here you will be pleased to know that your old adversaries CHALLENGE have been resurrected and are looking forward to joining a robust debate alongside you.

Barry, you will remember, but for those who are too young to recall, CHALLENGE was a political pressure group set up in the wake of the 2006 contract debacle. They argued long and strong for major changes early in the life of the new contracts. They even made a significant appearance in front of a Parliamentary Health Select Committee back in 2008. The three founder members were Eddie Crouch, John Renshaw and Ian Gordon. These are well known names with a long track record of standing up for GDPs in the one-sided battle with the Department of Health. The same three professional leaders are still the face of CHALLENGE.

The call for action from the CDO provides us dentists with quite an intriguing headline, especially coming from one of the most obdurate supporters of the status quo. Barry Cockcroft comes to the vexatious arguments over the way the NHS GDS and its various contractual formats work for patients and for dentists after telling anyone who would listen - for years on end - that the service is in great shape and patients are deliriously happy with the way they are treated.

Well, if Barry wants to hear from the profession, CHALLENGE is willing to take up the cudgels once again to promote and articulate the message we hear coming from all the GDPs we listen to on a regular basis. In the near future we will be running our own listening exercise to gather up data on how you see the contract and how you feel you have fared in the eight years since it began. We also need to know your concerns about the pilots being run at the moment and the possible shape of a new service that may emerge.

If we as a profession are to make any real impact other than making a lot of noise and blowing out a lot of hot air, we need your input to validate what we are saying. When that chance comes along please take the few moments it will require to put down, for our benefit and for the benefit of all your colleagues, exactly how you feel about the situation you find yourself in.

If Barry wants action, CHALLENGE says let’s give it to him!!

 

John Renshaw

CHALLENGE

============

Twitter @ChallengeDoH

Challenge on Facebook 

 

 

  4356 Hits
4356 Hits
FEB
15
0

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.

  4811 Hits
4811 Hits
DEC
19
0

The Top Ten Stories of 2013

 

 

We thought we would reminisce over the popular dental news stories published by GDPUK in 2013. Overall in 2013, we have published 286 different news stories.

We have focused on the articles which as well as having a large number of hits, they also make our top ten because they caught the imagination of the forum and the wider dental community. It is unsurprising that the majority of the articles chosen for the top ten, are an indication of ongoing issues, politics and controversies in UK dentistry that are likely to rumble on till 2014 and beyond....

 

1.       Olympic Health Survey – news story published on the surprisingly poor oral health of Olympic Athletes - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1430-olympic-dental-problems-revealed

 

2.       Problems at the BDA – An example of a story that caused pages of debate on the forum pages and will there be more to come?  - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1388-bda-to-make-staff-redundant

 

3.       NHS / Private Gaming – Another extremely popular / contentious issue on the GDPUK forum – This news item was about a dentist who got struck off for “gaming” https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1335-dentist-struck-off-for-gaming

 

4.       Teeth Whitening - A number of articles published on the issue, something that is still happening illegally, will we see this subject reappear in 2014? https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1303-gdc-stance-on-whitening-upheld & https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1292-more-moves-to-eradicate-illegal-tooth-whitening & https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1230-stop-illegal-whitening-debates-at-the-dentistry-show

 

5.       NHS Pilot Scheme – This is an area we will all be watching in 2014, the direction of NHS Dentistry is still unclear and will lead to continued debate next year - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1210-shortlist-for-new-dental-pilot-practices-announced

 

6.       Corporate Dentistry – Corporate Dentistry continues to dominate the landscape in UK Dentistry, next year it is expected that supermarkets will look to expand their dental coverage. Oasis Dental Care sold for £185m - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1256-oasis-dental-care-sold-for-185m

 

 

7.       Direct Access – An area of dentistry that is still being understood and digested but the BDA’s response was strong - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1254-direct-access-decision-misguided-says-bda

 

8.       HTM01-05 amended – https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1259-2013-version-of-htm01-05-published

 

9.       Dentist Commit Suicide – A topic that unfortunately does not go away, with a number of recent cases being in the news - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1299-bda-calls-for-inquiry-into-dentist-s-suicide

 

10.   Dental Graduates – It was confirmed that UK Graduates would be given preference for Foundation Training – Common Sense Prevailed - https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1381-uk-graduates-to-be-given-preference-for-foundation-training

 

Thanks for having a look at our top ten news stories published by GDPUK in 2013. Next year we would expect to see similar topics reappear with many issues in UK Dentistry still to be resolved. Watch this space for further GDPUK Exclusives!

 

Please let us know if you think we have missed important dental news from 2013?

 

What do you expect to see in the dental news in 2014? Predictions welcome...

 

On a lighter note, dentist Abi Sampa who was one of the stars of The Voice is still pursuing her singing career. Story can be found here and on twitter @Abi_Sampa

 

  4704 Hits
4704 Hits
DEC
13
0

The Pace of Change

The Pace of Change

 

 

What on earth is going on in dentistry? 

Is it me?  Has the pace of prospective change suddenly become turbo-charged?

It is worth reminding the profession and its representatives that by and large, in GDP we are NOT employed. We are independent contractors.  So why do the DH and our academic colleagues keep trying to treat us as though we are their whipping boys. 

If you are an associate, I reckon you might be worrying about the lie of the tea leaves.  Ever fancied re training as a Therapist?, Sorry to say , but it might be a good investment.

If you are a practice owner, under the NHS, the Ides of March 2015 look an ominous date.  Your business is dependent upon Government funding; you are NOT employed and yet you are being treated as an employee.  Is it really worth the [soon to be emasculated] pension?

As a private practice owner, are the Government REALLY going to impose rules to eliminate your freedom to practice the way you see fit?  You have the freedom to plan and the capacity to respond. But there are massive changes a’coming.  Bone up ... you have been warned.

In no particular order we have

  • ·         The CDO stating that NHS dental care will continue to be an unspecified [and ergo unlimited] commitment.
  •           Piltos continuing to point to disastrous Patient Charge Revenue allied to the "It can only work with Therapists"  big picture.
  • ·         Suddenly there is a proposal to break up the skill base for GDP into “Tiers” – and as many are already wondering, with associated ‘registration and accreditation’ costs.  Allowing Quangocrat driven deskilling is by any description professional suicide.
  • ·         The Chairman of the GDPC starting to play some cards as the negotiations continue for “Contract Reform”.
  • ·         There seems to be a groundswell of academic attempt to wield influence over the activities of GDPs –from Prof Steele’s changes underway to Dr Chate at the RCS Edinburgh starting to flag GDPs activities in simple orthodontics

Well, I might be a cynical old git, but I reckon the Dept of Health horse has probably already bolted.  I think it highly likely that we are about witness a pre-planned  move to the date of Contract Reform.  Standby for change and press releases on a quarterly basis. Standby for the BDA being outflanked and out-manoeuvred as the soul of dentistry is once agin under threat.  Having a Big Stick is of no use against an out-of-reach elephant.

I reckon the purpose of all this phoney consultation is simply to drag the profession along with a mouldy carrot.

If, as a profession we do not like what Prof Steele’s changes are presenting, and do not think that these changes will either benefit our patients or our businesses, and our associate colleagues, we have a duty to act.

We have a duty to say NO.

The BDA has a duty to say NO

We have a follow on duty to carry our patients with us in this Brave New World.

Its looks like Christmas 2013 will be line-in-the-sand time folks.

Which version of Brave New World do you want to be part of?   The Government’s or your own?

Do you want someone else whipping you at their pace or do you want to control how your career and business evolves?

Strap in guys and girls, the ride is getting bumpy.

  4956 Hits
4956 Hits
NOV
24
0

Them and us

b2ap3_thumbnail_them-and-us-Y.jpg

As the autumnal fall returns once again and the ominous portent of a Comet Ison[1] in the morning sky passes I am minded to wonder at our innate ability to disagree.  There is a really intriguing book out there called   Them and Us: How Neanderthal predation created modern humans by Danny Vendramini  [2] Basically, our behaviour is nothing new!

The BDA saga has not gone away, we are told – well, actually we are NOT told …  but the vox pop of internet chat suggest that those in office at the BDA are running in internal disagreement, and of course all the outsiders like myself are far better placed to run the show.  There is no agreement it seems, and we are polarised into them and us.

Then of course there is how to deal with ‘the problem patient’.  Not only do we all differ, separating into the “This is how to do it” camp on the one hand, and the “No you fool, do it this way” camp on the other.   Never mind that the poor bloody patient is always wrong.  Them is always right and Us is never wrong.

Orthodontics appears to be generating a fair share of divisionary comment:  Far from everyone synergising to the wider benefit of the patient community and for the greater good, we just have to bicker and squabble over long term or short term, GDP or specialist , ultra modern self ligating or out of date elastics.  Throw in a spooful of commercial self interest and the fuse is lit for a right royal bust up.

What would the public think?    Oh – them and us again!

There is a fine line between appropriate professional disagreement and internecine  warfare. We must as a profession beware of breaching it ... if we actually care. Maybe we just like a good fight!

Gawd ‘elp the poor old GDPs if the BDA and BOS combine forces …

Seriously:  who will draw this disparate medley of headstrong prima donnae professionals together? 

If we fight amongst ourselves, the Governments work is done.

Ah … now there is the Ultimate “Them and Us”.

I blame Comet Ison.  Enjoy Thanksgiving, don't all fight over the Turkey now. That would far too Neanderthal ...

 

[1]  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25001732

[2]  http://www.themandus.org/   
Them and Us by Danny Vendramini
With acknowledgement to the author for the image

  5936 Hits
5936 Hits
OCT
05
0

Tales of the unexpected …

Tales of the unexpected …

 

 

You know that change I mentioned last time  which is now is well and truly upon us ?  And to all you menopausal old geezer and gals, that is not what I refer to!

The green shoots of spring have begun their turn toward autumnal decay.  The nights draw in and so the darkness of Winter is approaching. There is a mistiness in the air. A murky shadow in the developing gloom. As the last light of the sun flickers, the web glitters with the silky net, ready to capture any unsuspecting prey.

The 9-legged predator that is GDC Standards has landed amongst us. But this is but a side story of evening reading material. Let me put that to one side as a “must” read !  The REAL story lies further down the street where the growing conditions are notably worse.

And so it is the case that The BDA departed the early part of 2013 brimming with the green shoots of optimism that a new era was beginning. Strategic Plans and New Membership structures had been planted seeded and watered. Sods of change had been ceremonially and publicly turned. The sun shone , it must have seemed, permanently upon the righteous, hereinafter known as The PEC Men.

And yet …

The year appears to be closing with the gloom of the unexpected. There has been a withering of such promised growth. This tale of dento-horticultural disaster is only emerging under the spotlight that is networking via GDP UK.  Were it not for such a group, you could cheerfully read the musings of the Chief Executive and believe that not only is everything green that is growing, but also that the Indian summer of new membership has produced some fine blossom, thank you.

In a perverse way, sometimes it takes a shock to resuscitate a dead body. One must hope that there is a defibrillating effect upon the Wimpole Street cognoscenti of the truth that is multiple redundancies and a major drop of in income, allied to an urgent need to realign the BDA business model. That’s shrink and contract to you and me.

Let’s just hope that the Dept of Health does not see the BDA’s 15% budget cut as leading the way forwards for the 2015 contract values.

The upcoming BDTA Show in Birmingham is cause for professional celebration of the industry that supports our work. Now that’s planting a positive idea, people.  Go spend the £200 you saved on your BDA membership on some decent kit.

Perhaps this time, there might also be an opportunity to disseminate news and discussion about the BDA on a wider basis.  If you are going, why not use your visit to drop by the GDP UK stand and catch up with the facts, and failing that have a good old gossip anyway. You won’t get much out of the BDA if current events are anything to go by! And make the most of it – who know what will happen to the Conference next year?

This tale of the unexpected may be the birth of a "new" BDA. At the very least we should hope that the BDA is "Renewed".

Let us all hope one shock is enough.

Now ... must check that list of my subscriptions for next year ...

 

  24402 Hits
24402 Hits
OCT
04
0

BDA is eating itself

BDA is eating itself
 
 
The BDA is eating itself. This has been going on quietly for a few months, since the figures secretly emerged from the membership changes implemented in early summer. News on this topic has been sketchy, the BDA has been trying to keep a lid on it.
 
There is a battle raging at the BDA, but there is a silence, a purdah from those involved. The membership needs to know, and must be told.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_220px-Leonhard_Kern_Menschenfresserin_White.jpg
 
There has been a major shortfall in income, and the organisation has to respond to this, or face dire financial consequences. The PEC met on Tuesday 1st October there has been no press release about this. The GDPC Executive met on Thursday October 3rd. No news from there either. Today [October 4th] the GDPC will be having it's say in London. By then, many more people will be in the know. But the membership should be told what is happening, and what the outcome will be.
 
On one side, the executive and the PEC has set course to retain the costly premises, and salaries of leading executives, make some cutbacks but carry on with the rest of its functions.
 
The other side is both concerned and very angry that cuts will be made to frontline services, directly affecting members and that no-one at the centre of the organisation is taking responsibility in the form of resignation. Cuts that may be made to BDA services include many staff redundancies, potentially in more than one wave. Major concerns are that BDA spending on the trades union side of the organisation will be severely cut. In addition, there are whispers that funding to the BDA branches, its true roots, will be cut to zero next year.
 
My opinion - although decisions were made collectively by boards and committees, the membership plan changes were brought to the fore by a group, and that group should take responsibility.
 
The membership, in their thousands, continue to subscribe millions of pounds, and the majority chose the simplest membership option, which includes the trades union activity. Therefore my prescription - this part of the BDA's work must not be cut.
  8865 Hits
8865 Hits
SEP
18
0

Botched & Dire Advice …

Botched &  Dire Advice

b2ap3_thumbnail_BDA-Membership.jpg

Well, its that time of the year when the smell of a drying wet dog permeates the house. The leaves are turning. The Fall is here as our colleagues across the pond might note.

The disturbing, but perhaps not unexpected, news this week is that the BDA are experiencing their own Autumnal Fall. This has of course galvanised the bar-room gaggle into snap analysis and quick fixing over a pint. Whoa Trigger. If only it were that easy!

It seems that the fancy new 3 tier membership has resulted in a wallet voting rush for web-BDA only. Which bit of the “Rollup, save £300” message did the membership FAIL to get?  The story goes that the wide-red-braced management consultant’s expected, cosy, even split of membership from “Basic” through to “Free Conference Tickets for all” levels has not materialised. Well, quelle surpise.

There has been what one must assume is a catastrophic fall in membership income, and already barely three months later redundancies are taking place.  Lifeboats and the Costa Concordia come to mind. Abandon ship, or merely muster at lifeboat stations? Time will shortly tell.

So what is the message here?   Some ¾ of the membership of about 18000 are understood to have elected for no personal contact with the BDA. That may be the reality of distant and isolate practice– one hopes… But of course it might be more of a vote of no-confidence.

But the 18000 HAVE signed up to 60 hours of vCPD [I wonder how many will actually take that up]. They HAVE signed up for library and journal access. And they HAVE signed up for soopah- doopah web access to 5000 pages of dental whatever. You could of course try Google for free and save another £300.

Perhaps more pertinent in these times - They HAVE signed up to Trades Union support.

Is it me?  The new membership have declined the offer of a free conference ticket, and by and large rejected the Expert practice and management support package and yet signed up in the main to the very bit the BDA hardly excels at – representation at government level.  Even then, in the basic package, all support will have to be ‘on line’. Joy.

The BDA seem to have shot themselves in the foot with this new membership and then left themselves with the only remaining task of running the marathon of representation. In rugby parlance, a hospital pass.

Maybe this new membership split IS a vote after all …

Maybe we will now have a Trade Union with balls. 

  6714 Hits
6714 Hits
JUN
11
0

Are you reading Lord Howe? [2]

After an urgent motion on Friday 7th June at the Annual Conference of Local Dental Committees about bullying by NHS Bodies was passed with an overwhelming majority, Minister of Health Lord Howe stated that this form of pressure was wrong. We now learn that the unreasonable over-priced invoices foisted on dental practices by the CQC are now being enforced in advance of the due date by over-zealous credit controllers working for NHS.

One practitioner has contacted GDPUK having been chased for payment several days before it was due. The email in question stated that the credit controller knew the dentist was on holiday, but wanted assurances that the invoice would be settled by during this holiday period. And the invoice is not even due yet!

GDPUK readers were recently informed that an over-keen CQC inspector wanted to see a log of items kept in the staff room fridge, the sort of fridge that contains two yoghurts, a salad and a couple of sandwiches. Does any politician, or the CQC itself, feel dentists and their teams should be keeping this sort of record? It's the sort of thing that might get a weak laugh on a BBC3 sitcom, but this is how modern professional people in the UK are hounded.

Our medical colleagues face lower bills for the same unwanted inspections, starting this year. Dentistry should not have to put up with this, and both professions should be charged the same lower fee, or no fee at all. These inspections are demanded by the all encompassing Health and Social Care Act, the professions certainly did not ask for this Act, nor for the ridiculous costs and demands associated with implementing it.

  13564 Hits
13564 Hits
JUN
11
0

Are you reading Lord Howe? [1]

Within the next two years it is most likely there will be a new contract for the delivery of general dental services. The new systems will undoubtedly need input of patient data in the surgery and for transmission to NHS bodies.

It is equitable and essential that DH agree that they must fully fund the computer systems needed to run and maintain their new contract. Thousands of dentists have, to date, provided computer systems with investments from their own funds. Dentists must now insist if the systems are essential to have an NHS Contract in the future, then the DH should pay for them retrospectively.

An equitable way would be for this payment in the form of a flat grant to be made to all performers, or all sites at which NHS contracting is provided. Inevitably this IT hardware and software then creates ongoing costs, these costs must also be supported by separate payments to dentistry, a clear and transparent statement must be made that this is not money taken from funds for patient care.

Are you reading Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health?

Dentists have been treated dishonestly in the past [Seniority Payments to name one instance], it is time to do the right thing.

  13837 Hits
13837 Hits
MAY
25
0

CQC and BDA - possible bedfellows?

The CQC and the BDA 

b2ap3_thumbnail_in-bed-together.jpg

The CQC are a’changin’ .. It seems that the CQC are modifying their broad brush approach previously employed to inspect dental practices and developing a more focussed  approach .  It seems that dentists now assist the CQC directly.

Not so much a light touch, more like the right touch

It seems that evidence that the BDA is also a’ changin’ comes in the changes to the CQC arising in large part from sensible dialogue between these two large bodies.

Should I whisper it or shout it from the roof top? 

Both the CQC and the BDA are to be congratulated.

[Blimey, it didn’t hurt either … ]

The PCT’s however, and so for the moment one assumes, NHS England [or Wales Scotland or N Ireland] ,  are still somewhat further off the 'improving' status, if one is to judge by the recent tragic case of a dentist who felt that taking his own life was the only option following the PCT grilling. 

Now 
perhaps we can feel assured that, if the BDA statement is anything to go by,  the BDA will seriously go gunning for any such heavy handedness in future.

Dentistry is a cottage industry, a swarm of buzzing micro-businesses.  However, that does not mean there should not be standards and consistency of standards across the profession.

Perhaps the CQC will go where the Dental Reference Service never quite reached. Or pehaps thy will be squeezed by a budget that make it impossible to maintain long term involvement of dentists in this way? Time will tell.

Maybe we reaching the point of suggesting the CQC is ‘a good thing’, and noting perhaps that it will drive profession wide improvements?

Whether that Pink Pig flies by or not, here's hoping your barbecue was suitably warmed up over the Whitsun break as you cooked up the next good idea for your practice.

 

http://www.cqc.org.uk/node/747216/

http://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/42569-bda-calls-for-inquiry-into-dentists-suicide.aspx

 

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Direct Access: An issue to unite dentists?

The present Chair of the General Dental Council, someone I have a great deal of time for, Prof Kevin O'Brien stresses the concept again and again, that the role of the GDC is "protecting the public". Dentists understand this, but for so many years the GDC regulated the profession in a different way, in what was a different world. But I personally, along with so many professional colleagues, cannot see how Direct Access will make things safer for the public. Risks must be higher, and there will be people who effectively have to be examined by dental hygienists and dental therapists, within their scope of practice, and inevitably they will carry out examinations, and will effectively become dentists.

What about the career pathway and the investment young people must now make to become a dentist? £9,000 a year for five years in tuition fees alone. We anticipate in five years from now, some colleagues will qualify with debts of £70,000. Will demand for dental school admission hold up when sixth formers and their parents do the maths?

What will the role be for dentists in the UK when successive governments have fully taken out their revenge on the dental profession for having the temerity to think and act independently? Politicians and the media all fail to recall a simple fact - the existence of any general dental service in the UK is provided by the investment of the profession, often based on the security of their homes, dentists are almost all independent practitioners, and some decide to enter into contracts to provide NHS dental services. These simple facts, dental practices are small businesses in which efficiencies are high, and nimble brained practice owners make rapid decisions on what is best for their financial well being, both in the very short term, as well as the longer term over-view. Unfortunately, when analysed, the decision on DA must be based on the revenge for independence created by the system which dentists inhabit.

The GDC sought advice from the profession in general in a wide operation. The BDA [representing 18,000 dentists] made their input, which was against DA. Both the content and the weight of this advice were discarded by the GDC in their deliberations.

Interestingly, there are not many issues which unite the UK dental profession. In this case, and in my opinion, there is strong feeling amongst the grass roots, this is now a cause
which could be used by the BDA to really pull together disparate parts of the profession.

Ref:
https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/1254-direct-access-decision-misguided-says-bda
http://community.bda.org/forums/p/5406/9295.aspx#9295

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Direct Access - threat or opportunity?

 


Ta DA  -  here it is folks.

Roll up, Roll up, it’s the finest oil you can buy.

What a week!

Well, what a week it has turned out to be. Just as the BDA go all inclusive on us, ‘inviting’ membership of this august Trade Union-esque body at various levels, they go all protectionist on us with their latest missive [1]. Maybe they are modelled on the old dinosaur Unions after all? What on earth are they on about?  If ever there was a bullet in the foot, this latest BDA tripe is worthy of ribald derision. Whether this stance will prove a monumental cock up or success will of course remain for the future to know.

It all started of course with what many might consider to be perhaps one of the earth shattering weeks in the history of the UK dental profession.   

Actually, not true: it all started with the OFT report of 2012[2] in which the threat of a full market review was hung over the profession and the GDC. The condition for its NOT being actioned was, amongst other things, the opening up of access to DCPs.

The GDC of course like being a strategic body. But I am sure they felt like a rabbit in the headlights of the OFT and an academic onslaught from Dundee, Manchester and Kent.  

With too many opinions to be able to “lead”, they did the classic “Large Committee” thing and sat on the fence examining their navels, asking the whole world what they thought about something of which they had not heard [Evidence Based Policy[3] …  hmmm ]  and then promptly fudged through the Direct Access changes come what may despite many shortcomings and misgivings.

This was not, it might seem, because they genuinely felt it was an appropriate release of professional skills.  It seemed that they were more concerned that having built up such a head of advance steam with the various reports and consultations that the only release was DA at any cost of any sort. Just get the OFT off their backs …

So what have we got? 

Well, on Easter Tuesday, not much has changed. Relax mes amis. 

 

Go to work and start to think about it.  As of March 2013 there are 38777 registered dentists.  There are 6265 hygienists and 2077 therapists, and encouragingly all have a known gender.

 

In practice I simply cannot see how DA will change much – other than oiling the wheels of efficient Dental Health Maintenance.  The need for a periodic dental examination to simply re issue a prescription for care can be eased back – who knows to what interval? Would a 5 years examination be acceptable in the presence of a trail of DA Maintenance by a DCP?  

 

If I were a Clinical Dental Technician I would feel I had been shafted and ignored – but since there are only 230 of this rare breed, I sense they were trampled by the rush. It seems they may be doomed to remain a niche business – but good luck to them for they are a light of success in many cases.

 

But in a fine example of joined up Government there remains the lack of freedom to prescribe simple analgesic drugs for placement in the mouth – how stupid can they be? If ever the GDC missed a trick of leverage, it must be here. Still I am sure it is high on the MHRA’s agenda.  Yeah, right.

DA is a bit like all the hype about 4G mobiles – it would be nice if they got 3G working everywhere first.  The OFT and GDC “selling” DA as “the next big thing” seems to have a whiff of snake oil about it if you ask me – and I work closely with a hygienist so declare an interest.

On the other hand, that occasional comprehensive examination by a dentist will now become a full works task – full charting, full mouth photographs, appropriate radiographs, TMD and parafunctional evaluation, aesthetic discussions, orthodontic review – you get the idea. 

Every Challenge is really an Opportunity

Maybe suddenly the periodic dental examination is actually a marketing opportunity to add value instead of down selling a simple “check up” [Don’t you HATE that phrase anyway ?]

But for the 6500 odd practices who employ DHs and DTs, little will change. In house protocols WILL change but surely this will be to the benefit of all involved. Patient care will become better for being seamless. Surely even the BDA can see that?

Will DCPs be rushing out to start their own practices – well not without substantial access to the capital funds required. And I cannot see HMG suddenly discovering a pot of money in the next 10 years.

Will DCPs now be able to obtain a Provider Number from the NHS Commissioning Boards? – well, there is an interesting prospect.  Because many might feel that this OFT driven change by the GDC is barely worth the paper it is written on without such a possibility.

Will the long term NHS Access strategy be to allow access to employed DCPs in enhanced outreach?  While many would see that as a very positive step [just thinking of the Scottish model] that raises issues of employment such as access to the NHS pension.

Perhaps what is clear is that there remains a conflict between the many thousands of Practice Owners and how they lead their teams, and a very small cadre of Dental Academics [4] who, seeming to have the ear of the CDO and his DH advisers, are re-writing the agenda for the provision of State funded dentistry.

It’s simple guys and girls:  Stop panicking like headless chickens and take a chill pill.  This “DA” seismic shift is fantastic news but not in the way the Government would like it to be.

The market is no sensibly estimated even by the OFT at £7.2B, and Private Practice is now £3.88B and rising. [Why the OFT excluded the ‘cosmetic element ‘ of £1.47B remains a political mystery – I don’t think so!] [5]

The Business of Dentistry needs DA to develop proper dentistry in high investment, high technology ultra professional Private Practice while the Government and its academic luvvies merely fans the flames of Rome-like “access” while living the NHS Big Lie of “Problem, what problem?”

 

 

Private practice needs DHs and DT more than the Government will pay them, and so exactly how will DA help Government policy? Well, it won’t and by the time the next Government start installing the next contract, dentistry will be up and away and the NHS offering will be sidelined to a minority social backstop.

 

I put it to my assembled colleagues: in the classic event driven by The Law of Unexpected Consequences,  Direct Access alongside the New Contract   will be  the death knell for Government management of NHS Dentistry because Private Dentistry will make better use of the work force and skill mix , more efficiently  and more  quickly than anything the DH can achieve. And it will pay better.

 

Finally we will have a core service indeed from the DH.

 

It is perhaps a shame that the apple is rotten.

 

[1] http://www.bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/41760-direct-access-decision-misguided-says-bda.aspx

[2] http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/market-studies/Dentistry/OFT1414.pdf

[3] http://www.gdc-uk.org/Newsandpublications/viewfromthechair/Documents/Evidence%20based%20policy%20Feb%202013%20Final.pdf

[4]  The OFT has had detailed discussions with a number of academic experts from dental  schools in England and Scotland, including Manchester, King’s College London, Leeds, Newcastle, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Deanery and Glasgow. The consensus among these experts  is that direct access can be implemented without compromise to patient safety and is necessary in order to make dental provision more efficient, effective and flexible for the patient, with benefits to be gained for the profession as a whole

[5] From the OFT Report 2012 - 'Dentistry UK Market Report 2011', Laing and Buisson, page 4.
The estimate that the dentistry market is valued at an estimated £5.73 billion a year is for 2009-10 and does not include cosmetic dentistry. The value of the dentistry market including cosmetic dentistry was estimated as £7.2 billion in 2010 according to 'The UK Dentistry Market Development' Market and Business Development (2010)

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