Don’t allow a culture of fear to crush dentistry, Mick Armstrong says

mick armstrong

Mick Armstrong addressed the Westminster Health Forum on the culture of fear he believes is in dentistry

Mick Armstrong believes dentists should be allowed to do their jobs without oppressive regulation and thinks the current fear culture must be addressed.

The BDA chair made the remarks at a Westminster Health Forum event recently where he also said that dentists must be heard and allowed to assert their professionalism in order to treat their patients and assure continued improvements in the oral health of the nation.

‘We are working in an uneasy atmosphere of enforced compliance, with limited support, limited understanding and even less empathy,’ he said.

‘One more akin to a punitive penal code than a healthcare system.’

Mick Armstrong continued by highlighting high levels of satisfaction with dental treatment, the positivity from patients and the high CQC compliance rate.

He called on policy makers and government officials to celebrate the profession rather than denigrate it.

Culture of fear

Mick Armstrong argued that the current environment doesn’t create confident and positive professionals claiming many live in fear of being hauled in front of the GDC.

He called for a new approach to regulation that is joined up and supports and enables dentists to treat their patients, and not one that stifles and scares, warning that future improvements in oral health care are not sustainable unless dentists are given the opportunity to get on with their jobs.

‘Trust us, and accept and recognise, even celebrate, the good work we do…don’t repeatedly attack the dental budget, but invest in it,’ Mick Armstrong concluded.

‘Make us a valued part of whole person care.

‘Make us positive professionals once again: enable us to do the best for our patients.’


  1. 1

    I have been a dentist for 46 years and it is apparent that now, even more than it was in the past, that a general dentist working in the NHS cannot carry out diagnosis, planning or treatment to the standard that was required to pass their final exams. I cannot think of another profession or even a trade where a person’s standards are expected to DROP after qualification. The GDC’s stated objective is to protect patients, so why do not they raise the issue of underfunding and no effective monitoring of clinical standards? They should, if they were to fulfill their remit, inform the minister of health that dentists are unable to carry out treatment to the standards set by the universities (and monitored by the GDC) because of the inadequate financial and monitoring structures in place. I know that it is just another example of their gross incompetence and emphasis on the wrong things, but it is fundamental. The dental profession needs to be paid enough to carry out every task to the standard we were taught, with enough monitoring to eliminate the cheats and those who would wish to milk the system.

  2. 2

    One of my friends , an foreign qualified dentist which currently working as registered dental nurse and she is in the process to become gdc registered dentist .
    Her first time exam ( more than 100 registrant ) did take place in November 2014 after a lengthy time consuming process and waiting process.
    6 months later she received an update from GDC which indicates all papper work for all registrants has been los and they will be offered a free of charge re exam, a few days ago she was notified by GDC that the charges has been raised and she does only need to pay the differences between the previous and the present fee.

    GDC is blaming kings collage and vise versa, anyway record keeping is the standard of GDC , many unlucky dentist have been the victim of the unachievable and unfair behaviour of GDC in regards of record keeping while the organisation which promoting and enforcing the requirements can not keep the standards, instead of hiding the matter GDC should publicly apology and acknowledge this matter as a sign of goodwill and honestly and accept the fact that incident like that can happen despite all nesseccoray measure are taken
    from the material and accusation brought to IC by GDC it sounds like a a matter like this a ultimate treason by a dentist .

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