Dentistry magazine: retraction

A retraction from Dentistry magazine.

In the 17 May edition of Dentistry magazine we published two articles on the front page about the British Dental Association, and an editorial comment relating to one of the articles.

We acknowledge that we failed to contact the BDA in relation to the two articles before publication to check facts and give the Association the opportunity to put forward its account of events. We accept the resulting articles and editorial contained inaccuracies and were misleading and unfair. We apologise unreservedly to the BDA for our actions.

Julian English, Executive Editor Dentistry magazine

Statement by Peter Ward, Chief Executive, British Dental Association:

Healthy debate and criticism are an important part of our democratic and professional lives, and it is right that the British Dental Association should be subject to challenge.

But when published articles are inaccurate and one-sided, we must take action to put the record straight.

The first article referred to a meeting of dental associations which the BDA did not attend. The BDA is a non-partisan organisation with no links to individual political parties. The meeting in question was organised and hosted by a think tank, and closely associated with a political party. This level of proximity with any political party does, from our perspective as a membership organisation, always demand that we consider with care the type of involvement asked of us.

When our attendance at the meeting appeared to be predicated on financially contributing to the production of published material by the think tank, we decided the BDA could not participate given our policy of political neutrality. We also believed this would not be an appropriate use of members’ money. We were then invited to send an observer to the meeting. We accepted this offer though it was later withdrawn.

The BDA values greatly its links with other dental associations and will continue to work closely with a wide range of colleagues. But we will always be rigorous in defending, on behalf of our members, the BDA’s political neutrality.

The second article referred to the BDA’s discussions with the Department of Health in 2004 over the new contract proposals. When the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee walked out of the discussions in 2004, no agreement had been reached on how the new contract would be monitored or the charging system. Previous discussions about weighted courses of treatment had been in the context of a range of indicators, not as a rigid and sole target leading to contractual penalties if unmet. As readers of Dentistry will be well aware, the BDA has been consistent and extremely vocal in opposing UDAs as sole performance indicators, describing them as reductive and ill-conceived.

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