Inaugural College Medal awarded to Ian Mills

Ian Mills has become the first ever recipient of the prestigious College Medal, the highest honour bestowed by the College of General Dentistry (CGDent).

Reserved to no more than one recipient per year, the College Medal succeeds the Faculty Medal, which was previously awarded by the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) to just four individuals. It is conferred for exceptional service of the dental profession and its patients in a manner aligned with the values and mission of the College, and both members and non-members are eligible for consideration. 

Dr Mills has received the award in recognition of his considerable contributions to the profession over many years, including through the College and previously the Faculty, in particular his exemplary leadership at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, his pivotal roles in establishing the CGDent and securing the FGDP’s transfer into it last year, and his promotion of greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the dental professions.  

Ian qualified as a dentist from Glasgow University in 1987 and spent the early part of his career working in maxillofacial surgery. In 1994 he moved to Devon, and three years later set up Torrington Dental Practice in North Devon, now an eight-surgery mixed NHS-and-private practice, where he continues to work as a partner.  

He joined the Faculty the same year, and after completing its prestigious Diploma in Implant Dentistry, gaining Fellowship and becoming a Fellowship Assessor, was elected to the National Faculty Board to represent the South West region. He was later appointed Chair of the Examinations Committee and the Faculty’s representative on the Care Quality Commission Dental Reference Group, and served as Junior Vice Dean from 2016-17 and Senior Vice Dean from 2017-18 before being elected FGDP’s tenth Dean, a post he held from 2018-2021.  

During his tenure he represented the profession on a number of committees and working groups, including NHS England’s Advisory Board for Dental Systems Reform, the Joint Committee for Postgraduate Training in Dentistry, the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee on Sedation in Dentistry, the Council of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network and the Public Health England group overseeing the development the fourth edition of Delivering Better Oral Health. 

In his first annual speech as Dean, he highlighted the inequality of opportunities for career progression within dentistry, noting in particular the disproportionate number of men in leadership roles relative to the gender balance in the profession, and he later instituted the FGDP-CGDent Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Board. 

Early in the pandemic, Ian established a forward planning task group to try to find a way for dental practices to re-open their doors as soon as safely possible. Convening individuals from over 30 organisations to develop suitable guidance, he played a key role in its development, working tirelessly to seek consensus on the many challenges of delivering dental services while minimising the risks of transmission. Completed within the space of just four weeks, Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice was published a week before face-to-face practice resumed in England, giving practices much needed time to prepare when no official re-opening guidance had yet been published. With its in-built responsiveness to varying COVID-19 alert levels, the guidance has remained accessible and relevant over the last 18 months. 

Continuously supporting the profession through the pandemic, he led numerous webinars, joined the NHS England working group on the resilience of mixed dental practices, was part of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme’s AGP Rapid Review Group, facilitated revised guidance on fallow time and steered the development of the Fallow Time Calculator

Prior to his Deanship, he was an elected member of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee, a member of Devon Local Dental Committee, and on the Professional Executive Committee of North Devon Primary Care Trust.  

In addition to his clinical practice, Ian has worked at Peninsula Dental School since it was established and has remained closely involved in the undergraduate programme. Currently Associate Professor in Primary Care Dentistry, he was previously a clinical supervisor, group facilitator and honorary lecturer. Actively involved in promoting and developing research in primary dental care, with particular interests in measuring quality outcomes, person-centred care and environmental sustainability, in 2018 he was awarded a PhD for research into person-centred care in general dental practice.  

He is an Ambassador, Founder, Fellow and former Trustee of the College of General Dentistry, and has been instrumental in the establishment and progression of its Career Pathways programme. A Fellow of the International College of Dentists, the Higher Education Academy and the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, he is a former Trustee of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 

Three new members elected to the FGDP Board and CGDent Council

The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) has announced the results of recent elections to its National Board, with three new members elected, and two re-elected.

Matthew Collins FFGDP(UK), a General Dental Practitioner in Batley, has been elected to the National seat previously held by former Vice-Dean Mark Richardson FFGDP(UK), who stepped down to fulfil an overseas military posting.

Matthew Collins

Matthew has a particular clinical interest in dental rehabilitations for patients with worn and missing teeth, and has undertaken extensive postgraduate training in composite techniques, aesthetic dentistry and dental implantology. He graduated from Leeds University in 1998, joined the FGDP(UK) in 2001, achieved Fellowship in 2010, and holds both a Master’s degree in Clinical Dentistry from the University of London and the Diploma in Implant Dentistry of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. A member of the Association of Dental Implantology,  and Chair of Calderdale and Kirklees Local Dental Committee, he is also a Facilitator for the Faculty’s ‘Preparing for Fellowship’ programme and a member of the FGDP(UK) Academy.

Kanwar Singh Ratra MFGDP(UK) has been elected to the West Midlands seat, which was recently vacated by Abhi Pal following his election as the final Dean of FGDP and first elected President of the CGDent.

Kanwar Singh Ratra

Kanwar qualified from Liverpool Dental School in 1999 and is Principal Dental Surgeon at Lansdowne House Dental Practice in Bromsgrove and at Bilston Dental Practice, where he enjoys guiding nervous dental patients through their treatment journey. With a strong interest in dental education, he was a clinical lecturer at Birmingham Dental Hospital from 2003 to 2012, and in 2015 was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education from the University of Birmingham. He has been a full member of the FGDP(UK) since 2004, and served as President of the Central Counties Branch of the British Dental Association from 2015 to 2017. He is also a director and founder of an innovative medical devices company, Sentra Medical Limited.

Ewen McColl MFGDP(UK), Director of Clinical Dentistry at Plymouth University’s Peninsula Dental School, and Co-Editor of FGDP’s Standards in Dentistry, has been elected to represent the South West of England, succeeding Suzanne Sykes MFGDP(UK).

Ewen McColl

After qualifying from the University of Edinburgh in 1993, Ewen worked in maxillofacial surgery posts before spending seventeen years in the British Army, during which time he served in Afghanistan and Brunei as a General Dental Practitioner. During his military career he completed specialist training in periodontics, restorative dentistry and endodontics at The Eastman and Guy’s dental hospitals in London, in addition to studying at Loma Linda University in California. With postgraduate diplomas in conscious sedation (from King’s College London) and in medical education (from the University of Dundee), he holds the FDS(Rest. Dent.) of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, is a Fellow of both the Faculty of Dental Trainers (RCS Ed.) and the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and is a member of the FGDP(UK) Academy.

The new Board members were elected for three year terms and will take up office on 25 June. They will serve most of their terms as Council Members of the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) following the transfer of the Faculty into CGDent next month.

Andrew Parashchak MJDF RCS(Eng) has been re-elected to represent the Mersey & North West membership divisions, and Jonathan Farmer MFGDP(UK) has been re-elected to the Trent & East Anglia seat.

Ian Mills FFGDP(UK), current Dean of the Faculty, said: “Many congratulations to Matthew, Kanwar and Ewen on their election to the Board, and to Andrew and Jonathan on their re-election. I wish them all the best, and am sure their vast and varied experience will serve the Faculty well as it fulfils its destiny in the historic launch of the College of General Dentistry.

“I would also like to thank Suzanne and Mark for their dedication and service to the Faculty through the Board, and for their collegiality and invaluable advice during my term as Dean.”

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(UK) endorses removal of wrong-site tooth extraction from Never Events list

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) has welcomed the removal of wrong site tooth extraction from NHS England’s list of Never Events.

The change will come into effect on 1 April, but has been confirmed in the latest revision to the Never Events list which was published earlier this week.

The NHS defines Never Events as incidents with “the potential to cause serious patient harm or death” that are “wholly preventable where guidance or safety recommendations that provide strong systemic protective barriers are available at a national level and have been implemented by healthcare providers”.

The amendment to the list was recommended by an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder working group convened by NHS Improvement, whose review found that the barriers available and in place to prevent occurrences of wrong site tooth extraction are insufficient to meet the Never Event definition.

The same recommendation has also been made by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch in its recently-published National Learning Report on investigations into Never Events, which details ten incident types across healthcare, including wrong site dental extraction, which it says do not meet the definition.

While this development means there are no longer any dentistry-specific mishaps classified as Never Events by the NHS, incidents of wrong site extraction are still classified as Patient Safety Incidents, and should continue to be reported, and managed, accordingly.

Former FGDP(UK) Dean, Mick Horton, represented the Faculty on NHS Improvement’s working group, and was also among those who developed the NHS Local Safety Standard for Invasive Procedures (LocSSIPs) toolkit, which is available on the FGDP website. He commented:

“I’m delighted that NHS England has acted swiftly to accept the recommendation that wrong site extraction should no longer be classified as a Never Event. However it remains vitally important to report and manage any instances as Patient Safety Incidents, and I would urge dental teams and practice managers to download and digest the ‘LocSSIPs’ toolkit in order to minimise the risk of wrong site extraction happening in their practice.”

The ‘LocSSIPs’ toolkit is available at

Further details of changes to the NHS Never Events list are available at

FGDP(UK) and FDS welcome new national powers for water fluoridation

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK and Faculty of Dental Surgery have welcomed proposals in the Government’s new Health and Care White Paper which will give the Health Secretary new powers around water fluoridation.

Responding to the proposals, Mr Matthew Garrett, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England said: “We welcome today’s announcement as an important step forward in our efforts to improve children’s oral health. Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the UK, tooth decay was the leading cause of hospital admissions for five to nine year olds by some distance, despite being entirely preventable. The events of the last 12 months, which have reduced access to dental services for many, will only have made this crisis worse. Water fluoridation has been found by Public Heath England to be an effective and safe measure for preventing dental decay. These proposals will make it easier for fluoridation schemes to be implemented more widely, so that more children can benefit.”

Ian Mills, Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK, added: “Tooth decay is the most prevalent disease in England, and the provision of water which is either naturally or artificially fluoridated to 1 part per million is effective in reducing its incidence and severity. There is also clear evidence that it is a cost-effective approach which reduces the number of children admitted to hospital for tooth extractions, and that it offers the greatest benefit in more deprived areas which suffer from poorer oral health and wider health inequalities.  However only one in ten households in England currently receive tap water containing the recommended level of fluoride, and we support the proposals announced today, which would help reduce the barriers to offering fluoridated water to other communities which could benefit”.

The Government’s Health and Care White Paper (p.61) proposes giving the “Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to directly introduce, vary or terminate water fluoridation schemes. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care already has the existing power to decide on whether proposals for water fluoridation should be approved and responsibility for the administration of schemes. This removes the burden from local authorities and will allow the Department of Health and Social Care to streamline processes and take responsibility for proposing any new fluoridation schemes, which will continue to be subject to public consultation. Central government will also become responsible for the associated work, such as the cost of consultations, feasibility studies, and the capital and revenue costs associated with any new and existing schemes.”

FGDP marks 15 years of raising standards in implant dentistry

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Training Standards in Implant Dentistry, its publication which defines the training that should be undertaken to carry out implant dentistry safely.

Training in implant dentistry is available from a variety of providers – including the Faculty, which has trained over 700 dentists through its respected postgraduate diploma course – and Training Standards in Implant Dentistry sets the standards which UK training courses should meet.

Available free of charge at, the document also serves as a reference point for the General Dental Council in the consideration of patient complaints against dentists who have allegedly practised implant dentistry in the UK without the necessary competence.

Principle 7 of the GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team requires dental practitioners to be appropriately trained for every task and type of treatment they carry out[1]. Developed initially by a working group convened by the regulator to ensure patient safety, Training Standards in Implant Dentistry requires those placing dental implants to be competent in carrying out the various surgical and restorative procedures involved, having undertaken suitable postgraduate training including mentored clinical implant placement and/or restoration.

Ian Mills

First published in December 2005, the document was later revised by an expert working group, in light of developments in the field, in 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2016.

A review published in 2018 concluded that the development of Training Standards in Implant Dentistry had “led to a significant improvement in the quality of postgraduate education in dental implantology in the UK”[2].

However the review also concluded that “the provision of mentoring for implant placements needs to be standardised”, and the Faculty is currently working with the Association of Dental Implantology to set out more detailed mentoring requirements, which are expected to be published as an appendix to the current guidance in 2021.

Abhi Pal, Editor of Training Standards in Implant Dentistry and Chair of the Faculty’s Professional Affairs Committee, said: “Developed to standardise and improve training in implant dentistry, Training Standards in Implant Dentistry ultimately helps give patients the confidence they need to seek appropriate treatment. The anniversary of its publication is a moment to celebrate the high standards of training and practice which it underpins, and which dental patients in the UK have been benefiting from for the last 15 years.”

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP(UK), added: “Undergraduate training prepares dentists to graduate from dental school as a safe beginner. Subsequent postgraduate training will provide the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and competencies within a wide range of dental disciplines, and for some will lead to specialist training. There is no specialist training pathway in the UK for implant dentistry, and as an increasingly popular treatment modality, and one which can carry significant risks, it is important that practitioners have access to appropriate training. Training Standards in Implant Dentistry enables a variety of training providers to respond to the needs of GDPs and deliver the necessary level of training. As a result, implant treatment is now routinely and safely available throughout the UK, to the great benefit of our patients.”

[1] Standards for the Dental Team, General Dental Council, UK (2013).

[2] Kim, N.Y., Stagnell, S. Postgraduate education in dental implantology in the United Kingdom: a review. Int J Implant Dent 4, 8 (2018).

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.”

BDA, FDGP(UK) and College of General Dentistry join forces to investigate discrimination in dentistry

The British Dental Association, Faculty of General Dental Practice UK and College of General Dentistry have joined forces to conduct a survey into discrimination in dentistry.

The survey is aimed at all dentists who have ever practised dentistry in the UK, and at dental students studying in the UK, and asks about their morale and career satisfaction as well as any experiences they may have had of being treated unfairly whilst working or studying.

Feedback from the survey will be anonymised, and the data and experiences captured will be used to identify and raise awareness of the ways in which discrimination is experienced in dentistry, and how these affect individual practitioners.

In recent months, the three organisations have convened a programme board to promote joint working on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in dentistry, as well as a joint working group to investigate racial inequality in particular. The survey results will help these groups take forward evidence-based actions to address the underlying issues, and to promote greater understanding in the profession of the experiences and concerns of their fellow dentists.

The survey is available at

Onkar Dhanoya, Chair of the BDA-FGDP(UK)-CGDent Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Board, said: “Dentistry is a caring profession by nature, but the experiences of some dentists suggest that as a profession we don’t always treat our colleagues as well as we do our patients. Only by listening can we better understand others’ concerns in order to address them.”

Russ Ladwa, President of the BDA, said: “Discrimination is unfortunately still a feature of our society, and dentistry is far from immune, but this survey is an important step towards understanding and addressing the issue in our profession, and I encourage all dentists to complete it.”