How badly must a regulator perform before someone intervenes, asks BDA

Please see below our response to the PSA’s annual report on healthcare regulators which was published on Friday.

26 June 2015
How badly must a regulator perform before someone intervenes, asks BDA

The British Dental Association (BDA) is concerned that the General Dental Council (GDC) has come bottom of the league in an assessment of the performance of nine healthcare regulators, published today by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

The PSA highlights that the GDC failed to meet a total of seven of its standards of good regulation.

On fitness to practise, the GDC fully met only one of the 10 standards, and failed to meet six others, representing what the PSA describes as a significant decline in its performance compared to an assessment it carried out in 2013/14.

The BDA notes that the jury couldn’t decide on whether the GDC had met two additional standards on fitness to practise pending an ongoing enquiry by the PSA.

The PSA has yet to comment on whether it considers the GDC’s activities in this area are “transparent, fair, proportionate and focused on public protection”.

Commenting on the PSA report, BDA Chair Mick Armstrong, said:

“Sadly this report makes familiar reading.  Yet again GDC registrants must acknowledge that they are being regulated by the worst health regulator in the UK.  What is worse is that, as far as dentists are concerned, it is now also the most expensive by a country mile.

“The findings in relation to fitness to practise come as little surprise as stories of waste, mismanagement and unreasonable practices abound.

“It is difficult to understand how badly the GDC has to perform before someone actually intervenes.”


(To access the report here’s the link.)

The Monday Morning Quote #324

“Theory with data is blind.

Data without theory are trivia”

Science Blogs – The End of Theory?  via @trishgreenhalgh

The Sound of Periodontitis – a great film produced by EFP.

One of the very few things that I miss about clinical practice is helping patients with gum problems to accept that they have a problem. Being the leader of the team in assisting patients to get themselves back to health and then ensuring that they maintained their health was so a source of great satisfaction.

I often felt that my enthusiasm for treating perio was out of step with a lot of my contemporaries, so much so that I remember using the phrase “Periodontitis – the disease that dare not speak it’s name” at one meeting on crown and bridge.

This film, The Sound of Periodontitis, made by the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), was launched at the recent EuroPerio meeting – I’m sorry I missed the conference as it seems to have been a great few days.

I wish this film had been available for us 25 years ago. Please share.

Demand and not profitability dominates dental practice values – says NASDA

Demand and not profitability dominates dental practice values says the most recent bulletin from UNW Dental Unit.

The latest NASDAL quarterly goodwill survey, for the quarter ending 30th April 2015, indicates that prices achieved on the sale of some dental practices are more indicative of high demand than the profits that can be achieved.

The highest values are still being commanded by NHS practices, which, in the view of the impending reform of contracts, is illogical, given the uncertainty of the reformed contract, but reflecting the massive surplus of buyers over sellers.

However, private dental practice values appear to be gaining ground. The average goodwill value secured for a private practice was 99% of gross fee income. This compares with a figure of 90% for the quarter ending January 2015 and 88% for the quarter ending October 2014.

Meanwhile, the value of NHS practices continues to outstrip mixed and private practices. The average goodwill figures are 125% of turnover for NHS practices, and 104% for mixed practices. The overall average figure for all types of practice is 113%.

It is very important to note that there were a number of transactions in the survey which varied significantly from the averages, so the survey results should be seen as providing a rough guideline only, and specific practice circumstances must always be taken into account.

The whole document is shown below:

UNW Dental Bulletin June 2015


The Monday Morning Quote #323

“Expect a lot from yourself, and little from others.

A lot of trouble will be spared.”



NHS Confidence Monitor – your voice is needed.

If you are an Dental Professional and you are working under the current NHS contract as either of those demeaning terms provider or performer please take a few minutes to complete the NHS Confidence Monitor.

The first of these surveys was commissioned by Practice Plan at the end of 2014. The results can be seen here.

To have your say, please complete the current survey:

…and then share, it runs until mid-July.


“Which” kicks (NHS) Dentists – so what’s new?…and what to do.

Following on from another Consumer’s Association report.

Dentistry is an easy target for any journalist that wants to have a go at a profession. Let’s face it, from Marathon Man through The Little Shop of Horrors via Lemming of the BDA and Robert Lindsay’s misanthropic, cynical and assistant sacking GDP Ben, dentists tend not to be portrayed as heroic or even that admirable. Add to that they are “associated” with healthcare, historically wield unpleasant instruments of repair and they also dealt with money so are perceived as “money” orientated. Just put “I hate dentists” into Google.

So when a Mangold or a Vine from Panorama or any wannabe sensationalist writer in other media is looking for a story then “teeth” is an obvious way to go.

Is it any different now? Well, the attacks are similar, encouraging the “oo in’t it awful” but the context has changed. I have written about this at some length in the past.

Well yes it is different because the landscape has changed. The Consumers Association did do the recent “mystery shopper” work, I don’t doubt their results, they do have a current campaign about dental charges which has over 19,000 signatures (although some way short of the desired 25,000).

The discredited (but still in post) chair of the GDC does want dentist to be like supermarkets.

The Dental Law Partnership (other ambulance chasers are available) are encouraging complaints. Why? Because there is plenty about which to complain. If dentist didn’t make themselves easy targets they would move on to greener pastures.

  • There has to be clarity in everything that you do, which means that..
  • You need to be squeaky clean about all your communications whether verbal or written, which means that..
  • All team members have to be trained in communication skills and rehearsed, which means that..
  • You have to invest in your team, which means that..
  • If you are looking to “sell” work that isn’t available on the NHS – and please make sure that it isn’t and the patient is in no doubt about it – your well trained team will be able to do that for you, which means that..
  • You will be able to reduce your dependence on an NHS that is running out of money, that measures output not quality of care, that is dangling the carrot of a better contract in 2018 (at the earliest), which means that..
  • You will be able to concentrate on the important things: the relationship with your patients, helping them to improve their dental health so they become people who want all your services, and a practice where you aren’t living in fear of the GDC, CQC, DoH and their works and pomps.

Sounds simplistic? As the research shows, people don’t like dentists in general but do like their own.

People do want to know, like and trust their dentist and team.

They do want to do business with you.

And they do want to send their friends.

The culture has changed, the landscape has altered, the principles remain the same.

It’s up to you to take the initiative.


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