Elizabeth Davenport, Alison Lockyer and Derek Prentice will stand in the election to become the next chair of the council of the General Dental Council (GDC).
Hustings for the three candidates will be held on Tuesday 1 December in the Council Chamber, at the General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8DQ.
An election will be held on the same day. The announcement regarding the chair will be made as soon as the Electoral Reform Services have confirmed the ballot.
Elizabeth Davenport and Alison Lockyer are both dentist registrant members of the council. Derek Prentice is a lay member of the council.
Full details of the Council meeting and the agenda can be found at www.gdc-uk.org.
• Elizabeth Davenport is a professor of dental education at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. She is chair of several Institute of Dentistry and QMUL committees and working groups and is chair of the Overseas Registration Examination Board and has in the past been president of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.
• Dentist Alison Lockyer was born in Leeds and is now based in Leicestershire, but also works in Oxfordshire. Alison’s a returning Registrant member to the Council of the GDC which she’s been involved with for more than eight years. She qualified in Edinburgh in 1980 and works full-time as a primary care dentist with five private and NHS practices in Oxfordshire and Leicestershire. She’s also provided dentistry within prisons and in an industrial (BMW factory). She is an elected member of the British Dental Association’s representative body and has always been very involved with both local and national ‘dental politics’.
• Derek Prentice has held a number of executive appointments, including assistant director with the Consumers’ Association, president of the Bureau of European Consumer Unions, chief executive of the Association of London Authorities and managing director of The Customer First Consultancy Limited. Derek has been a London Borough councillor, a member of the Governing Body of St Thomas’ Medical School, a member of the Governing Body of King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry and a member of a number of health authorities mainly linked to King’s College Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital. Derek has also served as a trustee of King’s College NHS Trust Charitable Trust. He is currently a Trustee of The British Home – which is an independent charity that provides specialised nursing and social care for people with long term medical conditions and severe disabilities.
Editor Julian English writes in his latest editorial in Dentistry magazine:
It is award-winning Dentistry magazine’s fervent hope that, at least for the first four years, the chair of the General Dental Council (GDC) will be a practising dentist. The reasons are simple. The regulation of UK dentistry has just been subject to the most extensive reforms since the 1957 Dentists Act. This is not the place to debate whether the classical characteristic of the profession – namely self-regulation – no longer exists. It is irrelevant. What matters is what high street readers perceive. To put it mildly, they perceive that they have been disenfranchised. They deeply resent the reforms driven by what everybody knows is a political agenda over which they have no control.
As a journalist, I have the opportunity of talking to a wide spectrum of high street dentists. Imposed reform of the GDC has left some readers angry and some frightened. However, the overwhelming majority have become defensive. The first thing they see in the Council’s Gazette is an ever-increasing number of conduct cases. As a result, right or wrong, much of their subsequent clinical and business behaviour is driven by only what can be described as fear. Is this the way the new council wants to conduct its future business? Already, of all the healthcare professions under the CHRE umbrella, dentistry is the most regulated.
Dentistry believes that if the first chairperson was a practising dentist some of this cynicism might be dissipated. To use the defence society phrase, it would be a gesture of goodwill. We all know, ad nauseam, that the council’s only duty is to protect patients and regulate the dental team.
However, would it not be more efficient if this was done by winning some degree of confidence from those it regulates? This confidence only can be done by electing a member of council with a background of owning and managing their own dental business. Such a person would understand the culture of the high street practitioner and how their mind works.
It is gesture politics, but it might make a difference to the present cynicism.