The Probe - Proudly serving the dental profession for over 60 years

BDNJ Spring 2021 – Mental health GDC Learning Outcome: A

Course Dates: 24th May 2021 - 24th May 2023
Enrollment Dates: Enroll Anytime
Who can Enroll: Anyone
Course Language: English
Price: FREE

About the Course

To appreciate why we should all be talking about mental health.

To know the oral health problems that can manifest as a result of poor mental health and related behaviours.

To understand what dental nurses can do to help patients and how.

Course Structure


The Probe

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BDA: Funding vital to realise Advancing Dental Care ambitions

Course Dates: Open-ended
Enrollment Dates: Enroll Anytime
Who can Enroll:
Price: FREE

About the Course

The British Dental Association has said new funding is essential to realise the ambitions set out in Health Education England’s Advancing Dental Care review.  

The report, published this week, concludes a three-year programme examining training pathways in dentistry and makes a number of recommendations for future change. The BDA has been involved and provided feedback on ADC proposals since its inception.

The BDA has supported proposals for more flexibility in training, and shares concerns raised in the report about underserved areas. It is also supportive of working with the GDC to continue developing a more workable route for mediated entry to the specialist lists.

However, the BDA maintains concerns that plans may risk destabilising some of the existing training structures that serve current populations. While dentist leaders were offered assurances that posts will not be taken away and reallocated, and will only be created with extra funding, the report itself does not offer guarantees. While it mentions ‘new posts’ the review focuses more generally on ‘equitable distribution’. The BDA has also warned that creating new Centres for Dental Development will require significant investment, and that jobs must be available for those undertaking training for new qualifications.

The union remains unconvinced about some of the suggestions of how future dental teams will workespecially the suggestion that teams working with high-needs patients do not require a dentistanreminds HEE that contract reform in England will need to lead to a more workable arrangement if the government is serious about countering the exodus of professionals from the NHS.  It has also expressed disappointment that financial modelling from consultancy London Economics – on which many of the assumptions in the report are based – have not been published alongside the main report.

The report identifies 20 workstreams, covering 5 core proposals. The BDA has stressed partnership working will be fundamental going forward, given many fall outside of HEE’s statutory role, a point the report itself acknowledges. The BDA has stated it expects to feed into all workstreams going forward.  All relevant BDA committees will now consider the review in detail and will provide further commentary in due course.

Shareena Ilyas Chair of the British Dental Association’s Education, Ethics & Dental Team Working Group, said: “While many of the ideas and ambitions set out are laudable, there is a tangible risk plans could destabilise services across England. These trainees provide care to thousands of patients. ‘Redistributing’ existing places will only mean moving young dentists from areas already struggling to meet demand.

“All practices face huge and competing demands, and any idea we can secure new training places without new funding is pie in the sky. The numbers this report is based on have not yet been shared. As we move forward we need HEE to make openness the rule, and to ensure dentists have a seat at the table.”  

Celebrate happiness at work with Mind Flossing cards from Mind Ninja

Course Dates: Open-ended
Enrollment Dates: Enroll Anytime
Who can Enroll:
Price: FREE

About the Course

The Mind Flossing Toolkit officially launches today during International Week of Happiness at Work and Friendship Month and consists of a deck of cards to nurture greater well-being and resilience. 

The Happiness at Work manifesto states: ‘Let’s create a workplace to stimulate fun, appreciation, positive feedback, awesome challenges, trust, meaningful results and own responsibilities. Let us, as employees, employers, entrepreneurs, organisations, and especially as human beings, work together to make happiness at work the norm and not the exception.’

The cards themselves are a self-intervention toolkit drawing from the science of well-being – positive psychology. They are designed as a pocket-sized guide you can carry with you, to nudge you to take intentional well-being actions. Bite-size activities range from meditations and journaling to creative exercises that can be done with patients and at home.

In line with the Happiness at Work manifesto, the Toolkit offers the opportunity to explore well-being under the umbrella of mindfulness and self-compassion, including team resilience, gratitude, optimism, character strengths, values and meaning.

The benefits of using these cards include:

The cards also address common negative thoughts such as imposter syndrome and perfectionism (the latter is a common trait amongst dental professionals and can lead to increased psychological distress).1

Speaking about the Mind Flossing Toolkit, creator of the cards, as well as a dentist and positive psychologist, Mahrukh Kawaja – AKA Mind Ninja – commented: ‘Over the years, it has been well established that working in dentistry is stressful, with a BDA survey very sadly revealing a high level of stress and burnout amongst a survey of more than 2,000 UK dentists, 17.6% of whom admitted they had seriously thought about suicide.’

Mahrukh continued: ‘Now, of course, there are added pressures in the post Covid era. If at all possible, we need to intervene before any of our colleagues reach crisis point and that is one of the reasons why I created this deck of cards. The cards are evidence-based, drawing together many psychological strands in an effective way. What’s more, the content of every card has been carefully chosen and curated with dental professionals in mind.

Mind Ninja is also delighted to have two industry partners for the launch of the Flossing Toolkit and thanks both Acteon and NSK for their support of the initiative, with both recognising the value of the cards to support the wellbeing of dental professionals through a larger order for their customers.

These lucky recipients will be among the first to learn how to create habits that stick, by unpacking the key takeaways from psychology and neuroscience, in no small part thanks to the engaging use of illustrations that depict the diverse community in dentistry.

Stancey Coughlan, commercial director at Aceton

Recognising the exceptional psychological value of the cards is partner Acteon, on whose behalf, commercial director, Stancey Coughlan, remarked: ‘At Acteon, we strive every day to support one another and our customers in our professional endeavours. When I heard about the Mind Flossing Toolkit, I knew it was something that dental care professionals would find invaluable, to boost well-being as an individual and as part of a team.

‘But I also recognise the importance of supporting dental professionals beyond Acteon’s sphere, which is why partnering with Mind Ninja made perfect sense for our business and our ethos. We couldn’t be happier to be at the start of this journey with Mind Ninja, offering an incredible opportunity to improve well-being across the UK.’

Alex Breitenbach, Managing Director of NSK UK


Commenting on NSK’s partnership with Mind Ninja, Alex Breitenbach, Managing Director of NSK UK Ltd, stated: ‘NSK UK is delighted to be working with the Mind Flossing Toolkit as we have a common aim to improve the life of dental care professionals and their patients.

‘Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that helps people lead a happy healthy life and now NSK has taken this concept and developed a completely new approach to oral hygiene to help dental care professionals unlock their potential to excel in daily practice.’

Nigel Jones, Sales and Marketing Director, Practice Plan Group

Also offering invaluable support is partner Practice Plan. As Nigel Jones, Sales and Marketing Director, Practice Plan Group, said: ‘One of things I’m most proud about working at Practice Plan is the way we can help to transform the working life for many dentists and their teams, with many dentists citing the reason for change being to create a better work/life balance and a less stressful working environment for the entire team. The well-being of the whole practice team is paramount and so it was an easy answer when approached to support with the Mind Flossing Toolkit. A fantastic and very simple, but effective resource for practices and their teams to remember that their well-being really does matter.’

Indeed, Mind Ninja would love to see people supporting one another other, checking in on each other’s emotional well-being. So, in celebration of their friendship and to promote all round happiness at work, why not purchase the cards for a dental colleague or your whole team, to show how much you care?

For further information and to purchase the Mind Flossing Toolkit, please visit


  1. Collin V, O’Selmo E, Whitehead P. Stress, psychological distress, burnout and perfectionism in UK dental students. Br Dent J. 2020 Nov; 229(9): 605-614. doi: 10.1038/s41415-020-2281-4. Epub 2020 Nov 13. PMID: 33188344

Dentists’ option to pay ARF by instalments now open to sign up

Course Dates: Open-ended
Enrollment Dates: Enroll Anytime
Who can Enroll:
Price: FREE

About the Course

Dentists can now sign up to pay their Annual Retention Fee (ARF) by installments, following the successful introduction of the scheme for dental care professionals (DCP) earlier this year.

The General Dental Council introduced the new pay by instalments option to support dental professionals who pay their own fee by enabling them to spread the cost over the year. For dentists, this is four Direct Debits of £170.

To take advantage of the option this year, dentists need to log in to eGDC and select the quarterly Direct Debit option no later than 31 October 2021.

GDC Chief Operating Officer, Gurvinder Soomal, says: “We are pleased to be able to offer this increased flexibility to professionals around how they pay their ARF.”

Where dentists hold specialist titles, the annual fee of £72 per title will also be collected in the first Direct Debit. For further information visit the GDC’s Pay by instalments Direct Debit webpage.