Abhi Pal to be first elected President of CGDent and final FGDP Dean

Abhi Pal has been elected as the next Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP), and will become the first elected President of the College of General Dentistry (CGDent). 

Dr Pal qualified in 1987 with honours and distinction from Guy’s Hospital, London, and has worked in general dental practice ever since, joining The University Dental and Implant Centre, a mixed NHS and private practice in Edgbaston of which he is Principal, in 1991.

With special interests in dental implantology and restorative dentistry, he is Editor of FGDP’s Training Standards in Implant Dentistry, for which he is currently leading the development of mentoring requirements, and was a tutor in Risk Management on the University of Warwick’s MSc courses in implant and restorative dentistry for seven years.

He joined FGDP in 1997, becoming active in its West Midlands division as a tutor and examiner for the MJDF, and later being awarded the Diploma of Fellowship. He was elected to represent the region on the National Faculty Board in 2014, was re-elected in 2017 and 2020, and is Chair of the FGDP Professional Affairs Committee, and a Senior Member of the Faculty Academy. In addition he represents the Faculty at meetings of Health Education England’s Advancing Dental Care Stakeholder Forum, and is involved in the development of a GDP career pathway for CGDent.

He has also previously served the Faculty as Chair of both the Education and Finance Committees, as Junior Vice-Dean (2016-17) and Senior Vice-Dean (2019-20), and as its representative on the Health Education England dental advisory group and NHS England clinical reference group on record-keeping standards.

He is one of the authors of the FGDP-CGDent guidance, Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice, and has played a leading role in developing the Faculty’s international relationships, most recently organising a joint webinar on dental practice during the coronavirus pandemic in conjunction with the dental associations of Kenya, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Abhi also holds the Expert Witness Certificate from Cardiff University Law School, and has twenty years’ experience of providing clinical assessments and reports, and giving evidence at courts and hearings, as an independent expert for lawyers, regulatory bodies, insurers and defence organisations. He advised Heart of Birmingham NHS Primary Care Trust on dental complaints, clinical governance and commissioning for twelve years, and brings his dento-legal knowledge to bear in representing the Faculty on the GDC’s complaints handling policy group, and at Dental Complaints Service stakeholder meetings. In 2019 he was also Guest Editor of a themed issue of the Primary Dental Journal on dento-legal matters.

He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, has a Postgraduate Award in Medical Education from the University of Warwick, and holds the Membership in General Dental Surgery qualification of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He has also been a Foundation Trainer for twenty-five years, and is a member of NHS Education for Scotland’s National Review Panel for Vocational Training.

Elected for a three-year term, he will be inaugurated as FGDP(UK)’s eleventh and final Dean on 25th June 2021, succeeding Ian Mills. He will become the first elected President of the College of General Dentistry, succeeding the Honorary Founding President, Nairn Wilson, upon the transfer of the Faculty to CGDent. It is intended that the transfer will take place on 1 July, though membership of CGDent is already open to all dental professionals.

Commenting on his election, Dr Pal said: “I would like to thank my colleagues for the faith they have placed in me.  It will be an enormous privilege to lead this country’s only professional body dedicated to general dental practice, an organisation with which I have been involved for 24 years, and a deep responsibility to be the first elected President as the Faculty fulfils its destiny of becoming an independent College of General Dentistry. I invite all those in the general dental professions in all four nations of the UK to join us as we take this historic step.”

Ian Mills, current Dean of FGDP(UK) and a Trustee of the CGDent, added: “Many congratulations to Abhi on his election as Dean. An accomplished practitioner, with a proven commitment to postgraduate dental education and a detailed understanding of good practice and standards, he is a highly respected colleague and members should be delighted that our organisation will be in such good hands at this critical time.”

FGDP appoints new DCP Representative

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) has appointed Mrs Sarah Hill BSc RDH FHEA as its new Dental Care Professional Representative.

Sarah qualified as a dental hygienist from the University of Bristol, with distinction, in 2012, and also holds a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Southampton as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Education from the University of Plymouth.

Working as a hygienist in a mixed orthodontic practice in Halesowen, where one of her passions is making sure that her patients are at ease during treatment, she also delivers presentations to dental hygiene and therapy students on behalf of TePe. She has previously been a lecturer in Community-Based Dentistry at Peninsula Dental School – a role which included clinical supervision, assessing practical and written examinations, and working with students on community projects – and a sales representative for GlaxoSmithKline.

Sarah has been an Affiliate Member of FGDP since 2013, and was recently co-opted onto the board of the Faculty’s West Midlands division as its DCP representative. An assessor for the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she is also an active member of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, and was Chair of its South West and South Wales group for three years.

FGDP is the only professional membership body in the UK specifically for general dental practice, and reflects and represents individuals across the whole dental team, welcoming all GDC-registered dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists.

Succeeding the late Janet Goodwin as the Faculty’s DCP Representative, Sarah will represent the interests of the wider dental team at meetings of the National Faculty Board, and in the FGDP’s work.

Speaking on her appointment, she said: “I’m absolutely delighted, and look forward to representing the interests of my colleagues on the Board, and helping the Faculty in its mission to raise standards of dental care for patients.”

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP, added: “Many congratulations to Sarah on her appointment. I am delighted to welcome her as the new DCP Representative on the FGDP(UK) Board and I’m sure she will make a significant contribution in the months and years ahead. This is an extremely important time for the Faculty as we prepare to separate from RCS England and look toward the future as part of the new College of General Dentistry. Dental Care Professionals will be an integral part of the new College and it will be fantastic to have someone of Sarah’s experience on the FGDP(UK) Board.”

College of General Dentistry appoints further Ambassadors

The College of General Dentistry has appointed three more Ambassadors: Professor Richard Horton, Dr Govin Murugachandran and Professor Jonathan Cowpe.

College Ambassadors are drawn from different backgrounds and walks of life. They support the engagement of the College in general healthcare and society and promote its influence in the interests of patients and the public, building trust and confidence in the dental profession.

More Ambassadors will be appointed in the coming months as the College works towards its historic, formal launch, now planned for mid-2021.

Chair of the College Board of Trustees, Professor Nairn Wilson, said: “I am delighted that Professors Horton and Cowpe and Dr Murugachandran have joined the College’s exceptional team of Ambassadors. Collectively, they have a huge range of highly relevant expertise and knowledge, with opportunity to greatly increase awareness of the College and its importance. The College looks forward to having the support and encouragement of its new Ambassadors in working towards realising the goals of excellence in oral healthcare provision and new leadership and support for all dental healthcare professionals.”

In commenting on his appointment Richard Horton said: “It is a privilege to join the College as one of its Ambassadors. For too long, medicine has neglected oral health. I want to make it my mission to ensure that oral health receives the priority it deserves within the NHS, medical research, and medical education. The College has a vital part to play in advancing oral health nationally and globally. I look forward to working with the College to deliver these goals.”

Govin Murugachandran commented: “It is a privilege to join the College as Ambassador at a time when the need for a clear and independent voice has shown its importance. I am looking forward to working with the college to bring guidance and innovation to the profession”

Jonathan Cowpe added: “I’m honoured to be an Ambassador for the College of General Dentistry. Dentistry is at the forefront of significant challenges in the delivery of high standards of healthcare to communities, not least during the present pandemic. I look forward to supporting the College spearheading excellence in healthcare delivery and promoting education and training for professionals from across the dental team.”

Richard Horton

Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet. He qualified in physiology and medicine with honours from the University of Birmingham in 1986. He joined The Lancet in 1990, moving to New York as North American Editor in 1993. In 2016, he chaired the Expert Group for the High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, convened by Presidents Hollande of France and Zuma of South Africa. In 2011, he was elected a Foreign Associate of the US Institute of Medicine and, in 2015, he received the Friendship Award from the Government of China. In 2019 he was awarded the WHO Director-General’s Health Leaders Award for outstanding leadership in global health and the Roux Prize in recognition of innovation in the application of global health evidence. He works to develop the idea of planetary health – the health of human civilizations and the ecosystems on which they depend.

Govin Murugachandran

Govin Murugachandran is a dually qualified clinician with a medical degree from University College London and a dental degree from Kings College London. He completed his core surgical training in the London Deanery as part of pursuing a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

In 2017, Govin founded Flynotes, a digital health company that uses AI to optimise patient and clinical communications. Flynotes partners with leading organisation and institutions to deliver software solutions to health care professionals. Most recently, Flynotes worked with the FGDP(UK) and CGDent to deliver the Fallow Time Calculator for use by dental teams across the UK.

Jonathan Cowpe

Graduating from the Turner Dental School, Manchester in 1975, Jonathan embarked on a career in Oral Surgery in the NHS and through clinical academia, with senior posts in Dundee, Cardiff, and Bristol. His early research was on the application of quantitative cytopathology in early oral cancer detection. He has been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education and training developments for 40 years. Elected to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Dental Council in 1995, he became Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (2005-08). He was appointed Head of the School of Oral & Dental Sciences, Bristol (2001-04). Returning to Wales in 2009, he was appointed Director of Postgraduate Dental Education in Wales. During that time, he was elected Chair of the Joint Committee for Postgraduate Training in Dentistry (2009-13). These roles facilitate his continuing aspirations to smooth the transition from graduate dental professional into clinical practice, a springboard into a career-long period of CPD and promote an ethos of inter-collegiality and engagement across the profession. Jonathan led on the ‘DentCPD’ project (2010-12) and the recent ADEE reports ‘Review of CPD’ (2019), ‘Preparedness for Practice’ (2020) and ‘Professionalism’ (2020) published by the GDC. He continues to supervise students/trainees in minor oral surgery.

Russ Ladwa inaugurated as BDA’s 134th President

Russ Ladwa, who has held many of the leading roles in UK dentistry, has today taken office as the 134th President of the British Dental Association.

A former Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, he has chaired both the Federation of London Local Dental Committees and the Dental Vocational Training Authority, and was a board member of the odontology section of the Royal Society of Medicine before being made its President. In 2012, having been a life-long member of the BDA, Russ was elected to its board, serving until 2019.

Russ qualified as a dentist from the London Hospital Medical College in 1975. He returned from a short spell as a civilian dentist in the US Army to work as an associate in an NHS practice in West London in 1977, buying the practice shortly thereafter.

In the 1980s Russ was involved in establishing the Asian Odontology Group and was a founding member of the Association of Dental Implantology. In 1990, he was one of the first London GDPs appointed as a Postgraduate Dental Tutor, a position he held for 23 years.

Russ Ladwa said: “Clearly the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably loom large over my presidency. So, I am heartened the BDA has stepped up and shown real leadership when it hasn’t always been forthcoming from the authorities. This challenge, huge as it is, will dominate, but not define my term of office.

“Yes, we have a responsibility to meet this threat head on, but we cannot shirk the other challenges we face. My predecessor, Roz McMullan, put mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of our agenda. She has my heartfelt thanks. In these uncertain times, the foundations she has laid are needed more than ever and will be built upon.

“And there is the task ahead to help this Association look more like the profession it serves. I have always believed in the mantra that any post should be won on merit alone, with equal opportunities afforded to all.  I am equally clear that every dentist requires strong role models to aspire to. They should be able to see themselves in the BDA, if they are to take part, to grow and even lead a strong membership organisation, such as ours.

“So, the underrepresentation of women across the BDA seriously concerns me just as much as the profession-wide under-representation of Black, Asian and other minority dentists. Democracy sometimes has to be helped along. As half the profession and half of our membership, the case for women to be better represented is undeniable. I am glad that this is being currently addressed positively and I promise to do all I can, during my term, to support their cause.

“I know many colleagues now face an uncertain future. Oral health inequalities we’ve struggled with for so long look set to widen. Prevention looks less attainable than ever. But a pandemic isn’t the time to step away from these challenges. It’s the moment to confront them head on.

“I pledge to be a listening President for all our members, regardless of their background, specialty, or discipline. In these trying times we are stronger together.”

BAPD elects Dental Students Committee

The British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) has announced the election of Shivam Kotecha as chair and James Wooton as secretary to the Student Liaison Committee.

This newly formed arm of the BAPD will provide fundamental input into how regulatory decision making will impact young dentists, and how it will affect their future careers. The BAPD recognises the fact that young dentists are vital to the profession, and applauds their energy and enthusiasm for positive change. The BAPD will support their cause through our work, helping to pave a brighter future for all.

In addition, the association has welcomed new committee members, Salma Daou, Rachel Derby and Zoe Wray. All three have reportedly made ‘an immediate impact’.

GDC appoints three new council members

The General Dental Council (GDC) has announced the appointment of three new members to its Council, following a competitive recruitment process earlier this year.

Donald Burden began his career as a general dental practitioner before moving into educational and clinical roles within Queens University Belfast and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT). He now holds a combined role of Clinical Director for Dental Services in BHSCT and Director of Queen’s University Dental School.

Laura Simons is an experienced non-executive director with a background in consumer affairs, campaigning and professional regulation, and brings a wide range of skills and experience drawn from working in consumer organisations of varying sizes and complexity. She joins the Council as a lay member.

Mike Lewis is a professor of oral medicine at Cardiff University and a consultant in oral medicine at Cardiff University Health Board. He has previously held the role of Dean at the School of Dentistry, Cardiff University and was Director of the Clinical Board for Dentistry at CUHB.

The GDC has also confirmed the re-appointment of three existing Council members, Sheila Kumar, Crispin Passmore and Caroline Logan.

Announcing the new and re-appointments, GDC Chair Dr William Moyes, said: “I am delighted to welcome Donald, Laura and Mike, who bring with them a wealth of skills and knowledge. They replace Kristie Moons, Margaret Kellett and Geraldine Campbell, who have contributed greatly to the work of the GDC since their appointments in 2013, and to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks.

“Our new appointments, in addition to the re-appointments of Sheila, Crispin and Caroline, will ensure Council can continue with its important work with the benefit of strong expertise and experience, helping us to achieve our goals in what continues to be challenging and uncertain times.”

Council members serve for maximum terms of office which guarantees frequent opportunities for others to join the GDC. The regulator’s next round of Council recruitment will commence early next year, and in the lead up to that search the GDC will once again be actively encouraging applications from dental care professionals and those from BAME backgrounds.

To learn more about the work of Council, visit gdc-uk.org.

Two high-profile advocates for CWF appointed to BFS

The British Fluoridation Society is delighted to announce that two highly experienced advocates for community water fluoridation are now working with the Society. Alan Johnson, former Labour MP and a Secretary of State for Health, is a Vice President and Barry Cockcroft, the former Chief Dental Officer for England, has joined the BFS council.

The Chair of BFS, Steve Bedser, commented: “Alan joins a long line of high profile social justice campaigners who have added their name to a BFS Vice President role. Both Alan and Barry have a great record as water fluoridation advocates. I am confident that both will be great assets to the society.”

British politician Alan Johnson was for 20 years the Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle where he actively supported the proposal to introduce water fluoridation. The oral health of children in this area is among the worst in England, making water fluoridation a ‘no brainer’ (1) he says. No longer an MP, he remains a champion of targeted water fluoridation both in Hull and nationally. Alan served in both the Blair and Brown Governments and was Secretary of State for Health from 2007-2009. He is now a celebrated author.

Barry worked tirelessly to introduce water fluoridation in Southampton while CDO (2005 – 2015). Supported by the BFS, the BDA and many other organisations, his impeccable campaign was ultimately successful at judicial review. Regrettably, the scheme was not implemented because new legislation – the Health and Social Care Act 2012(1) – was introduced at a critical juncture and abolished Strategic Health Authorities, consigning this important victory to history.

Barry says his commitment to water fluoridation stretches back to the 1970s.  Having been a dental student in Birmingham, where the water was fluoridated in 1964, and then moving to work in Coventry, he was also aware of the oral health benefits bequeathed by fluoride. “The difference was plain to see. It felt wrong that some children were given a much better start in life, simply due to a fluoridation postcode lottery.”

He recalls, as a young dentist, writing to a local paper in Bolton in support of a water fluoridation scheme there. Once established at a dental practice in Rugby, he provided regular general anaesthetic sessions for extractions of severely decayed children’s teeth and witnessed the devastating impact this disease can have. He is aware of how distressing it is for parents to witness their child experiencing extractions. Prevention was always a priority for him and the landmark Delivering Better Oral Health toolkit was commissioned while he was CDO England.

Of his new role on the Council of BFS he commented: “I have always been a fan of water fluoridation and being on the BFS council is a great opportunity to help move forward on this invaluable preventative measure.”

For more information, on BFS: https://bfsweb.org


  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-019-0943-x
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_and_Social_Care_Act_2012#Medical_establishment_reaction

BAPD announces new appointments

The British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) has announced a new member of its Executive Committee, as well as the appointment of a volunteer Equality Officer.

The Interim Steering Committee has elected Victoria Holden to the BAPD Executive Committee. Vicky brings a wealth of experience to the profession, and the association looks forward to her contribution and support for its mission and goals.

Sarah Buxton

Meanwhile, the BAPD is delighted to announce that it has appointed Sarah Buxton to the volunteer role of BAPD Equality Officer. Sarah has been a familiar face on computer screens during Covid-19, appearing in various webinars. She also brings extensive HR legal experience with her.

In other news, the BAPD has secured representation in a series of upcoming meetings with the GDC. Jason Smithson and Simon Thackeray will provide the voice of the BAPD, raising issues directly affecting our members. This will ensure BAPD members’ concerns are raised directly at the highest level.

Stephen Price promoted to Managing Director of Takara Belmont (UK) Ltd

Stephen Price has been appointed Managing Director of Takara Belmont (UK) Ltd and will take up the role from 1st July 2020 as current MD Takashi Hoshina returns to Japan to take on an International role within the corporation.  Stephen has held the position of Director at Takara Belmont since 2006.

“During my tenure here at TBUK, we have achieved many things. We have enhanced the Dental product range with tbCompass and Voyager 111, which are now two main products in the UK market,” Takashi commented. “We have had to adjust our strategy for Brexit and today we are facing huge challenges with the Coronavirus, but we will come through this together and my new job in Takara Belmont is to integrate our international business in USA and Europe, which I am optimistic towards because of what I have learned from the UK in the past 8 years.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Stephen’s calibre and experience to lead Takara Belmont UK. Stephen has a solid understanding of our products and markets, a proven track record and is a strong communicator with deep leadership capabilities. ”

Stephen added: “We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead.”

Upon his return to Japan, Takashi will be responsible for the business expansion in both Europe and the USA.

Appointment of Deputy Chief Dental Officer

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England are pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Wong MBE as Deputy Chief Dental Officer for England. Jason will work alongside Sara Hurley and Eric Rooney (Deputy CDO) in collaboration with local and regional teams to deliver improved outcomes for patients, and champion the role of dentists and dentistry within the health system.

Jason is a general dental practitioner who qualified from the University of Birmingham in 1995 and also holds a Diploma in Postgraduate Dental Studies from the University of Bristol. He is a partner at the Maltings Dental practice in Grantham. He was awarded an MBE for services to Dentistry and Oral Health in 2020.

Chief Dental Officer, Sara Hurley said ”Jason has a track record for outstanding delivery as a Local Dental Network Chair. He is a respected practitioner and trainer and a notable champion of children’s oral health. His experience and diverse portfolio will be invaluable as we navigate the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and build on the integrated team approach alongside our colleagues in the wider health and social care sector.”

Wong commented: “It is a privilege to be appointed as Deputy Chief Dental Officer for England. I am very much looking forward to joining the Office of the Chief Dental Officer and working with the entire dental family”

Jason will share the role with Deputy Chief Dental Officer Eric Rooney MBE.