BADN welcomes the appointment of Angie Heilmann to the GDC

The British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN), the UK’s professional association for dental nurses, welcomes the appointment of Angie Heilmann to the General Dental Council (GDC).

Angie Heilmann (formerly McBain) qualified as a Dental Nurse in 1989, went on to achieve the NEBDN qualification in Dental Sedation Nursing (with Distinction), for which she was awarded the Roche Prize in 2000, and worked in clinical practice until 2007 before focusing solely on dental nurse education.   

Angie has held a number of educational and tutoring positions, most recently as the Dental Workforce Development Regional Advisor for Heath Education England (East) until 2020, and is currently the Director of Dental Nurse Education at Cambridge Dental Nurse Academy, the dental nurse arm of Antwerp Dental Academy. Previously, she was part of the team that introduced Foundation Degrees in Dental Nursing at the University of Bedfordshire. 

Angie is not only a Past President of BADN, but also a former Chair, Regional Coordinator and Chair of the National Teaching Group, and was awarded the BADN Outstanding Contribution to Dental Nursing Award in 2011.

Angie was also Chair of the Local Dental Education Committee at Luton and Dunstable Hospital; and is the only dental nurse to have sat on the Council of the Society for the Advancement of Anaesthesia in Dentistry (SAAD). She holds a Master’s degree in Medical Education from the University of Bedfordshire and was awarded an MBE for Services to Dental Nursing in 2012.   

“We are extremely pleased “said BADN President Jacqui Elsden “that former BADN President Angie Heilmann has been appointed a registrant council member of the GDC.  I have no doubt that Angie will bring to this role a wealth of expertise to ensure a fair and proportionate experience for dental professionals, leading to improved confidence in our profession.

“I should like, on behalf of BADN and the UK’s dental nursing profession,  to congratulate Angie on this appointment – we look forward to working with her and the rest of the GDC going forward.”

BDA: ‘New GDC Chair a chance to turn the page’

The British Dental Association has responded to the General Dental Council’s appointment of new Chair, Baron Harris of Haringey (Lord Toby Harris).  

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: “We are disappointed that the GDC has again chosen not to select a dentist as Chair. This would have been an important step to rebuild trust with this profession.

“However, a new face offers an opportunity to turn the page. We send our congratulations to Baron Harris and offer our commitment to work with him and his team to secure the cost-effective, right-touch regulation dentistry desperately needs.”

New GDC Chair and Council Member announced

Following a competitive recruitment process, the General Dental Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Baron Harris of Haringey (“Lord Toby Harris”), who will join the GDC as Chair of Council, and Angie Heilmann MBE, who joins as a registrant Council Member.

Both will take up their new posts on 1 October 2021, when the current Chair Dr William Moyes and Council Member Catherine Brady leave office at the end of September.

Lord Toby Harris has spent his career working in the public interest, with a focus on consumer protection, security and policing, and healthcare inequalities. He brings 40 years of non-executive experience. 

He currently chairs the National Preparedness Commission, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to improve the level of preparedness in the UK to major threats and shocks, and the Fundraising Regulator, which oversees charitable fundraising and was established to raise standards and improve public trust in the sector. He is currently undertaking a review of London’s preparedness to respond to a terrorist incident, which is a follow up to the review he conducted five years ago.

He has previously chaired several public sector bodies, including the first Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), and subsequently on behalf of successive Home Secretaries oversaw national police work on counterterrorism and security. From 2009 to 2015, he was the Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody, that reports to the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care.  He also led at the request of the Minister for Prisons the independent review of self-inflicted deaths in custody of 18 to 24 year olds published as ‘The Harris Review – Changing Prisons, Saving Lives’ in 2015.

Lord Toby Harris spent 12 years leading the Association of Community Health Councils, representing the interests of the public in the NHS. He is a former council leader; member of the London Assembly; and he was the first Chair of the Association of London Government (now London Councils) that led cross-party collaboration across the London boroughs and prior to the creation of the Greater London Authority acted as the democratic voice of Londoners.

He is also the Chair of the Independent Advisory Group on Ethics for the National Crime Agency and the outgoing Chair of National Trading Standards, which delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement activity.

Lord Toby Harris graduated from Cambridge University in 1975, having studied Natural Sciences and Economics and where he was President of the Cambridge Union. He was made a life peer in June 1998 and is the Chair of the Labour Peers Group in the House of Lords.

Angie Heilmann MBE (previously McBain) is a registered Dental Nurse who has had a long clinical and academic career. Firstly, in Scotland and then moving to England in 1986. Angie qualified as a Dental Nurse in 1989 and went on to achieve NEBDN qualifications in Dental Sedation Nursing (with Distinction) and worked in clinical practice until 2007 before focusing solely on Dental Nurse Tutoring.

Angie has held a number of educational and tutoring positions since then, most recently as the Dental Workforce Development Regional Advisor for Heath Education England (East) until 2020 and is currently the Director of Dental Nurse Education at Cambridge Dental Nurse Academy, the dental nurse arm of Antwerp Dental Academy. Previously, she was part of the team that introduced Foundation Degrees in Dental Nursing at the University of Bedfordshire.

Angie has held a number of non-executive positions, including President of the British Association of Dental Nurses, Chair of the Local Dental Education Committee at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. She is the only Dental Nurse to have sat on the Council of the Society for the Advancement of Anaesthesia in Dentistry (SAAD). She holds a Masters of Medical Education from the University of Bedfordshire and was awarded an MBE for Services to Dental Nursing in 2012.

On the announcement of his appointment Lord Toby Harris said: “I am very pleased to be joining the GDC as Chair of Council and look forward to working with my fellow Council Members and the Chief Executive and his senior management team, to ensure that we remain an effective and efficient regulator and that we ensure that public protection is at the heart of everything we do. 

“At this time of significant change and after what has been a very difficult period for many dental professionals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I look forward to working collaboratively with colleagues from across the professions to ensure that our approach to regulation is proportionate and focused on the important areas of public safety and ensure public confidence in the professions we regulate.”

Current Chair Dr William Moyes added: “It is great news that the GDC has secured the services of such an experienced Chair and Council Member. I look forward to working with Lord Toby Harris to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months, and to welcoming Angie Heilmann to her role as Council Member.”

On her appointment Angie Heilmann said: “As a registered Dental Nurse, having worked in dentistry for over 30 years I am thrilled to be joining the GDC as a registrant member of Council.  

“I look forward to working with my Council colleagues and contributing to making the journey better for both patients and professionals.” 

Both Lord Toby Harris and Angie Heilmann start their new roles on 1 October 2021.  

GDC publishes annual report and accounts

The General Dental Council (GDC) has today (14th July 2021) published its 2020 Annual Report and Accounts.

“At the beginning of 2020, we had recently launched our new corporate strategy, Right time, right place, right-touch and for the first time published our planned activity for the year in our Costed Corporate Plan 2020. Between them, they set our ambition for the year, underpinning our primary objective of public protection by delivering efficient and effective dental professional regulation,” said GDC Chair William Moyes and Ian Brack, Chief Executive and Registrar. “In the early part of the year, we made good progress. We successfully completed the final stages of our estates programme following the move of some functions to Birmingham and the opening of our new Hearings suites in London and held our second Moving Upstream conference in February. Work across the full range of our activities was also continuing as planned.

“However, as we began to understand the significance of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, including the UK going into its first national lockdown, and the effect this had on the provision of dental services across the UK, our workload, plans and priorities changed significantly.”

Read the full report, as well as the entire statement from William Moyes and Ian Brack here.

Regulatory reform: GDC welcomes direction of travel but highlights room for improvement

The General Dental Council (GDC) has welcomed the Government’s proposals for reform of healthcare professional regulation, but is calling for greater flexibility and a faster pace of reform.

The regulator has repeatedly expressed frustration about legislation which is too detailed and inflexible to meet modern needs, and which undermines its ability to operate an effective and efficient regulatory system. The GDC supports the more responsive approach to regulation these proposals will bring about and recognises the need to ensure effective accountability.

But the GDC is urging the Government to be more ambitious in its approach. In some areas the proposals are still very detailed – such as the defined process for all regulators to follow in fitness to practise investigations – and this risks locking regulators into a system which may work today but doesn’t have the adaptability it needs to respond to the needs of tomorrow.

The regulator has also highlighted concerns over the timetable and pace of reform. 

GDC Chair, Bill Moyes, said: “My biggest concern is the further delay to the reforms as a result of the government’s decision to review the number of healthcare professional regulators. We need more progress in reform, faster, and a clear timetable for delivery.”

In forming its response to the consultation, the GDC met with over 100 stakeholders from across the sector, providing it with valuable and varied insights on the broad range of issues raised by the consultation. The GDC looks forward to seeing the timetable for reform and the consultation for draft dentistry legislation.

Further information about the GDC’s work on regulatory reform, including detail on where the GDC agrees and disagrees with current proposals, is available online. 

DCP annual registration renewal now open; Dental care professionals asked to double-check CPD compliance

Annual registration renewal for UK registered dental care professionals (DCPs) is now open and the deadline for completion is 31 July 2021.

To renew their registration, DCPs need to do three things:

  • Make their annual or end-of-cycle CPD statement.
  • Declare they have, or will have, appropriate indemnity in place.
  • Pay the Annual Retention Fee.

GDC Executive Director, Registration and Corporate Resources, Gurvinder Soomal, said:

“Keeping skills and knowledge up to date over the course of their career is an important commitment made by all dental professionals as this helps to keep patients safe and promote public confidence in the professions. I would encourage all DCPs to think about the different options for completing their required CPD, for example completing online courses when the number of face-to-face courses are restricted.

“Every year we see thousands of DCPs not meeting the requirements around CPD, which can lead to professionals being removed from the register. More often than not, these problems arise due to an oversight or misunderstanding about what is required, which is why we really want people to double-check and make sure they know what they need to do.”

The GDC’s CPD scheme is designed to provide flexibility to professional in how they manage their CPD, but the regulator recognises the challenges some may have experienced in accessing CPD due to COVID-19. If these exceptional circumstances have prevented individuals from completing enough CPD this year, the GDC has confirmed it will take this into account. Professionals must still make their declaration, however, and let the regulator know if this is the case.

Visit the GDC’s website for more information about annual renewal and CPD.

Sign up deadline approaching for DCPs on ARF pay by instalments option

Dental care professionals (DCPs) who wish to pay their Annual Retention Fee (ARF) by instalments have just one week left to sign up.

The General Dental Council announced the introduction of the new ARF payment option earlier this year. The scheme aims to support dental professionals who pay their own fee by enabling them to spread the cost over the year with quarterly Direct Debits. For DCPs this works out as four payments of £28.50.

To take advantage of the option in 2021, DCPs need to sign up no later than midnight on 31 May 2021.

Dentists who wish to pay their ARF by instalments will be able to select this option later in the year. Further information about the pay by instalments option is available via the GDC’s website.

Henry Schein applauds GDC for direct-to-consumer orthodontics statement

Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest provider of health care solutions to office-based dental and medical practitioners, issued the following statement applauding the position taken by the United Kingdom’s General Dental Council (GDC) in support of the primary role of the clinician with patients seeking orthodontic treatment. Henry Schein is a leading manufacturer of orthodontic materials and supplies, including Reveal clear aligners, which are available only through dental practitioners.

“We fully support the GDC’s view that ‘direct interaction between patient and practitioner’ is essential for safe and effective orthodontic procedures,” said Patrick Allen, Managing Director, Henry Schein Dental – UK, Ireland, Nordics, and Southern Africa. “Henry Schein’s orthodontic products are available exclusively through dental practitioners precisely for the reason that the GDC stressed in its statement – ‘there is no effective substitute for a physical, clinical examination as the foundation’ for orthodontic treatment. It is Henry Schein’s position, in every market we serve, that dentists are central to assessing a patient’s oral health and administering orthodontic care, for the ultimate benefit and safety of the patient.”

To read the GDC’s statement in its entirety, please click here: https://www.gdc-uk.org/news-blogs/news/detail/2021/05/13/statement-on-direct-to-consumer-orthodontics-and-supporting-information.

GDC publishes statement on direct-to-consumer orthodontics and supporting information for dental professionals

The General Dental Council (GDC) has today published an updated statement in relation to direct-to-consumer orthodontics which highlights issues dental professionals – particularly those working in the remote provision of orthodontics – need to consider.

The statement is based on three main requirements:

  1. In line with current authoritative clinical guidance, and orthodontic training, clinical judgements about the suitability of a proposed course of orthodontic treatment must be based on a full assessment of the patient’s oral health. At present, there is no effective substitute for a physical, clinical examination as the foundation for that assessment. Should a dentist rely upon information from another source to inform their own clinical judgement, the responsibility for that judgement rests wholly with the prescribing dentist.
  2. Direct interaction between patient and practitioner – whether in person or remotely – is essential for providing patients with the opportunity to ask questions, provide valid and informed consent, and be satisfied that the course of treatment proposed is likely to meet their needs and expectations.
  3. Patients must know the full name of the dental professional responsible for their treatment and be able to make direct contact with that person if they need to.

GDC Executive Director, Strategy, Stefan Czerniawski, said: “Traditionally, healthcare is delivered in person – patient and clinician sitting in the same room discussing treatment options and agreeing on a way forward. New technology is challenging that norm and we support innovation wherever it safely brings benefits to the patient. But safety is absolutely key and new ways of doing things must not compromise well-established safety measures which are designed to protect patients.

“Our statement highlights a number of issues that dental professionals working in remote models of treatment will need to consider. One of the main things to remember though, as is the case in any other setting, it remains the treating dentist who is responsible for ensuring they have met all of the Standards for the Dental Team.”

In addition to the statement, the GDC has also published information to support dental professionals in exercising professional judgement.

Should professionals have any questions or concerns in relation to their practice, they should seek further advice from their indemnifier or professional association. The GDC says it will continue to monitor developments in this area.

The GDC has also developed a social media toolkit to help dental practices communicate with their patients about these important issues. 

BOS Response

In response, the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) has wholeheartedly welcomed the GDC statement and accompanying guidance for both patients and professionals regarding direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment.

BOS members have long warned of concerns about direct-to-consumer orthodontics. The most recent members’ survey from last month (April 2021) showed that 82% of members were concerned about more patients seeking DIY orthodontics during the pandemic, and 98.92% wanted to see the GDC take action.

Anjli Patel, Director of External Relations at BOS, said, “Today’s announcement is about the most fundamental element of healthcare – patient safety. We are delighted that our concerns have been heard by the GDC and acted upon. However, as the voice of orthodontics in the UK, we still have reservations about how any wrongdoing by DIY orthodontic companies could be picked up by authorities and we don’t want patients falling through regulatory cracks. Patients don’t know what they don’t know – we will endeavour to give them all the facts.”

GDC comments on first results from UK-REACH study relating to Covid-19 and healthcare workers

Responding to the publication of the first results from the UK-REACH study, which found Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in 23% of healthcare workers, General Dental Council Executive Director, Strategy, Stefan Czerniawski, said:

“We encourage all dental professionals to be vaccinated as an important step in protecting their patients, their communities – and of course – themselves. This research shows that most healthcare workers – including dental professionals – recognise that vaccines are safe and effective, but that a minority remain hesitant. It’s important to understand the reasons for that so that concerns can be addressed, and take-up encouraged.”

The United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And Covid-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) study is the largest and most comprehensive research project assessing the risk of Covid-19 for 18,000 clinical and non-clinical staff. It was launched after growing evidence showed how people from ethnic minority backgrounds had double the risk of severe Covid-19 infection compared to that of the White population.

The research is jointly funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and supported by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre – a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

The study is supported by the major national professional regulatory bodies, including the General Medical Council (GMC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), General Dental Council (GDC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and General Optical Council (GOC).

Czerniawski added: “We have recently updated our vaccination guidance for dental professionals and employers which we encourage everyone working in dentistry to read. We will continue to seek opportunities to promote as wide a vaccination take-up as possible and to support the important work of the UK-REACH study.”