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

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:



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.

New Vice Deans at FGDP

Susan Nelson and Onkar Dhanoya have been inaugurated as the new Vice Deans of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)).

Susan is Lead Dentist at Shore Road Dental & Implant Clinic, a private practice in Holywood, County Down, where she specialises in implant dentistry. Graduating with Honours in 1993 from the University of Edinburgh, where she won the McGregor Gold Medal for the most distinguished dental graduate, she completed Vocational Training in Fife before joining the practice as an associate in 1994. A member of FGDP(UK) since 1998, she examined and sat on the core group for the MFGDP(UK) and MJDF for 16 years, and also served as Director of the Faculty’s Northern Ireland division. She was elected to represent the region on the Faculty Board in 2017, re-elected earlier this year and chairs the FGDP(UK) Education and Qualifications Committee. She is also Deputy Chair of the Northern Ireland branch of the BDA, and will take on the role of Regional Clinical Lead for Portman Healthcare later this year.

Onkar has been Principal Dentist at Honour Health, a mixed NHS-and-private dental group, since 1986, providing treatments including dental implants, facial aesthetics and orthodontics at its three practices across the North East of England. Graduating from Newcastle University in 1985, he represents the Yorkshire and Northern region on the FGDP(UK) Board, and holds Fellowships both of the FGDP(UK) and the International College of Dentists. Chair of North Tyne LDC, and past President of the BDA’s Northern Counties branch, he has been a clinical teacher at Newcastle Dental Hospital since 1995. He chairs the Faculty’s Professional Affairs Committee, served as Vice-Dean from 2018-19, and chaired the working group which developed the recently-published Implications of Covid-19 for the safe management of general dental practice.

The new Vice Deans were elected by the Board for one-year terms, and succeed Abhi Pal and Roshni Karia.

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP(UK), commented: “On behalf of all members of the Faculty, I congratulate Susan and Onkar on their election as Vice-Deans. They bring with them significant experience and insight into general dental practice, which will be of great benefit to myself, FGDP and the wider profession in their new roles. I would also like to express my thanks and appreciation to Abhi and Roshni for their advice and hard work over the last twelve months, and in particular for their support throughout the current pandemic, and I am delighted that they will continue to play important roles on the Board.”

DDU appoints new head of claims handling to continue success in defending cases

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), the parent company of the Dental Defence Union (DDU), has appointed David Pranklin as its new head of claims handling. David succeeds Jill Harding, who led the department for 17 years and recently retired.

David heads up a 36 strong multi-disciplinary team of claims handling experts supporting the MDU’s 200,000 dental professional, doctor and other healthcare worker members facing clinical negligence claims. With a background in the insurance industry, David has worked for the MDU for 22 years, most recently as the technical claims manager with responsibility for leading on high value claims and complex cases as well as deputising for the role he now occupies.

The DDU has an enviable track record of defending claims on behalf of its members. In the last 12 months almost 70% of dental claims were defended successfully and closed without payment of damages.

David explained: “I feel hugely privileged to take on this role and look forward to building on the firm foundations laid by Jill during her years of service. The team has achieved some excellent results in defending claims against members and I look forward to continuing this good work. We know how stressful it can be for our members involved in a clinical negligence claim. For dental professionals, claims are usually made against the individual practitioner and can be very concerning for them. Our role is to relieve the burden for our members, acting in their best interests.

‘Claims against members are not usually indicators of poor or unsafe practice, but unfortunately they are often perceived that way. Because they are personal, claims against members are a very different prospect to claims against institutions. They need an individual approach and our claims team’s excellent results, sustained year on year, demonstrate that members are safe in our hands.”

The DDU recently called for healthcare professionals to be spared from the stress and anxiety of dental negligence claims during the pandemic. The DDU argues that healthcare professionals must be accountable for their actions but the unprecedented circumstances in which care was provided must be remembered when investigating medical negligence claims arising from the pandemic. 

UNW welcomes senior manager to dental business unit

Newcastle-based chartered accountancy and business advisory firm UNW has welcomed the appointment of Mike Blenkharn as Senior Manager to its specialist Dental Business Unit.

Mike, who has a degree in Accounting and Finance, and qualified as a chartered ACCA accountant in January 2016, joins the firm with over 10 years’ experience in working with dental professionals. Before moving to UNW, he was Healthcare Manager at Dodd & Co. Chartered Accountants, where he was involved in advising the majority of the firm’s dental practice clients. Alongside his dental accounting experience, Mike brings with him a wealth of experience in NHS contracts, net pensionable earnings, tax affairs, exit strategies, and retirement planning.

The appointment of Mike adds to UNW’s growing team, with the firm now employing over 115 people at its Citygate offices, underpinning its success in the marketplace across all sectors. UNW’s Dental Business Unit, led by partner Alan Suggett, is a leading national advisory team that acts for over 500 dentists across the UK.

Alan Suggett, Dental Business Unit Partner at UNW, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Mike to UNW. Adding another experienced accountant to our dental team, to work alongside Liam Richardson and me, helps us to further stand out, even amongst NASDAL accountants. We are now best placed to not only continue delivering excellent service to our dental clients, but to help develop our growth plans with confidence.”

“I have known Alan for many years through NASDAL, so was well aware of the focused and professional approach that UNW takes in providing the best service to its clients, as well as in developing its people,” commented Mike. “Despite the unusual time in which I have joined the team, the firm has been extremely welcoming, and I look forward to working with our substantial client base.”