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Barry Cockcroft appointed CDO

Appointment will see him continue as the head of the dental profession

The NHS Commissioning Board has appointed Barry Cockcroft, chief dental officer for the Department of Health, as chief dental officer to the Medical Directorate.

The appointment will see him continue as the head of the dental profession.

He will be part of the Medical Directorate working in partnership with other directorates, domain leads and other clinical leaders in regional and local area teams to improve outcomes for patients across all five domains of the NHS Outcomes Framework.


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Barry Cockcroft does not represent the Profession, only those who choose to work within the NHS, a dwindling number. Its like saying that the Pope or alternatively the Archbishop of Canterbury represents all Christians.They don't. They only represent those who choose to join their denomination. I am sure I am not the only dentist who did not choose Mr Cockroft to represent me.
Agree 100% with Richard Charon - Barry Cockroft is not and should not be referred to as the 'head of the dental profession'. He is a state employee and serves the NHS.
Barry Cockcroft is clearly NOT the "head of the dental profession", merely a former dentist who happens to hold a position as a senior civil servant, in which capacity he implements the policies of the government in England. He has distanced himself from the growing number of non-NHS dentists working in England and therefore exerts an influence over a diminishing proportion of the profession and the total spend on dentistry. I hope you will be so good as to correct this error in the report.
Was the reference to the CDO as the "Head of the dental profession" a piece of journalistic licence or was it a direct quote from a Department of Health press release? If it was the latter it is a matter of concern and it should be challenged by the BDA. The CDO is a political appointment and axis mainly as a mouthpiece for government and departmental policy. There is neither any democratic mandate from the profession itself or any minimal postgraduate qualifications required for this job. In order to be considered as the head of a profession one would need to achieve either widespread or majority support within it, or some notable postgraduate professional achievements, or preferably both. While there is no acknowledged single "head" of UK dentistry the title would be far more deserved by either Martin Fallowfield of the BDA or Trevor Ferguson of the FGDP. These are individuals chosen by the FGDP or the wider profession based on a democratic process and both of whom command considerable respect within the profession for their past contributions, achievements and principled positions on many important matters. Sadly I am not sure that any of the above would apply to the current CDO, who ushered in nGDS with such enthusiasm 6 years ago and has left us with it's appalling legacy. Audoen Healy
I have to agree with my colleagues. The article is insulting to members of the profession , and and out of the NHS, who are suffering (as are the patients) as a result of political policies which this man has condoned.. I am constantly appalled by the poor quality of the journalism in this publication, and the complete lack of understanding of those who are its target readership.
Everything about this article 'riles' me - starting with the heading, which should surely be 're-appointed', as Dr Cockcroft is already the incumbent? The way to 'improve patient outcome', as far as dentistry in the UK is concerned, by the way, is to ensure that the dentist providing the care is not working within the ludicrous Nectar-point system so enthusiastically promoted by Dr Cockcroft.
I expect he will get a bar to his C.B.E.
Indeed, Roger. Sir Barry. Nice ring to it, eh? For a chap who has done such a lot to enhance the dental health of the UK. Tremendous....... He can compare his gongs with Prof Jimmy Steele. Spiffing. I'm absolutely certain the whole population of UK will breath a sigh of relief that their dental health is assured. Problem undoubtably solved. LOL....
Oh, and has anyone (Mr English?) wondered why everone has abandoned this site? Stagnation, moderation........
Dear all,Thank you so much for your input – as always, much appreciated. Here, at, we simply try to report the facts so I'd like to clarify a few in case they are unclear: • The IC-based data on the number of dentists performing NHS services actually illustrates that this has grown since 2006 • It would be a re-appointment if Barry Cockcroft's new post was in the DH but it is not; it is in the NHSCB • We are moderating the site now because, as you may remember, we received a number of spam comments that were detracting from our focus on delivering high quality content for you, our readers. I am sure you will all agree we have now eradicated this • The CDO is NOT a political appointment, but a civil servant position, I believe. Thanks again for your comments and I'd love to hear from you directly so please feel free to email me at
Yes the number of contract numbers has increased. The reasons for this are: 1. Increasing numbers of female dentists, who tend to work less hours thus less WTE's (whole time equivalents), and 2. Many dentists (eg myself) having restricted NHS contracts, to children only etc. The actual availability of NHS GDS may have increased as well, I grant you. But NHS dentistry and high-quality dentistry are often 'not bed-fellows'.
spam is easy to spot and remove . This new format is rubbish as is the interview with Cockcroft. He does not represent me or any private dentists. Delusions of grandeur or what!!!He is a govt lackie who seems to endorse whatever latest contrick the govt comes up with-its sickening
Julie Of course the CDO is a political appointment. Who do you think decides who is appointed to all senior civil service positions? They may or may not sit directly on the appointment panel but ultimately they are in control. The idea that the government of the day doesn't significantly influence and control such appointments is frankly ridiculous. The first thing any new administration does is shake up the civic service to appoint their own preferred candidates wherever possible. Audoen
Quite right Julie. Who are we as mere clinicians to comment ?
My understanding is that, in the UK, a civil servant is NOT a political appointment. Civil servants must behave according to a code. The code defines the civil servants' four core values in the following way: 1. ‘integrity’ is putting the obligations of public service above your own personal interests 2. ‘honesty’ is being truthful and open 3. ‘objectivity’ is basing advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence 4. ‘impartiality’ is acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well governments of different political persuasions. But, as always, you are all entitled to your opinions on all things we report
Julie When Tony Blair came to power a census of civil servants showed that over 60% of those who expressed political preference were conservative voters, while when the coalition came to power that situation had more than reversed with over 70% expressing allegiance to labour. This was attributed directly to government influence on recruitment and selection. Every administration does the same. I am somewhat surprised at the naivety of your comments, and a little worried that someone in your position would so readily accept the official government line of such an issue. Blair immediately introduced steps to politicise the civil service when he took power in 1997, including the appointment of up to three "special advisers" whose would act as "line managers" on appointments. Since senior civil service appointments are no longer jobs for life all civil servants have to watch their backs in case of dismissal. Therefore they are far more inclined to do their political masters bidding than before? Sir Humphry, like him or loathe him, has been replaced by a lickspittle poodle. Which reminds me, was the use of the term "Head of the dental profession" for the CDO from a DoH press release or your own journalistic invention? Please answer this question, as the ramifications are important. Audoen Healy
Once again, thank you so very much for your comments. This is clearly a contentious issue for some of you and I am delighted at the way in which you demonstrate your passion. I reiterate, I am simply here to report the facts. For detailed information on the senior appointments made to NHS CB Medical Directorate, please go to
Julie I am beginning to feel like John Humphries on Radio 4, asking the same question again and again. Once again, was the term "head of the dental profession" from a government document or coined by Dentistry? All in the spirit of debate and enquiry. Audoen
Please note my previous reply in which I refer you to the NHS Commissioning Board website where it reads: "The appointment of Barry Cockcroft and Keith Ridge to the posts of Chief Dental Officer and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer will see them both continue as the heads of the dental and pharmacy professions."
Thank you Julie. This gets Dentistry off the hook. Now we should organise an approach to the Dept of Health demanding that they retract the term, as it is wholly inappropriate. Audoen
This is ridiculous and perfectly fine journalism. These comments are just coming from some moaning whiners who have an axe to grind about the 2006 contract. A contract may I add which was good for patient care but not for dentists that liked to earn more money for doing less work or those that like to play the system and bitch about UDAs, harping on about the 'good ol days'. The 'good old days' saw NHS dentists leave in droves, the 2006 contract stopped that and actually then saw an increase in NHS dentists by placing a responsibility on PCTs to contract for NHS dentists so we didn't see stupid silly stories about long queues of people waiting for an NHS dentist a few years later when the new dental contract was brought. That's why Barry Cockcroft got a CBE ie for saving NHS dentistry - there are now more people being seen that in 2006 - the official stats show this too: He has also presided over opening more dental schools to train more dentists - and yes it doesn't matter whether they go into NHS or private dentistry. A lot of dentists do a mixture of both private and NHS work which makes sense ie get a filling done on the NHS, get braces done privately. Jimmy Steele has simply suggested tinkering the NHS dental contract in his independent review of NHS dentistry that was done back in 2009 and not scrapping it and going back to the dark ages. I am definitely happy there's 3 bands of treatment charges ensuring there's an upper ceiling and I will happily report any NHS dentist for fraud if they try to game the system. Barry's responsibilities and background are accurately reflected here: He used to work for BDA and more importantly was a practising dentist for nearly 30 years and yes the new dental contract was HIS idea not the Government's. It obviously wasn't popular for money grabbing dentists used to the fee by single treatment culture because they whinged about doing a bit more work for less money but ultimately he knew the new system would save NHS dentistry and he got proven right. The CDO is the main government adviser on dental policy and provision in England in the same way that the Chief Medical Officer is the government adviser on all things medical and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer does the same for Pharmacy and the Chief Nursing Officer did the same for Nursing. There is NOTHING incorrect in saying they are heads of their professions - that's what Chief means! They got there after many years of hard work and it would be great to see more medical professionals move into management to try and improve our healthcare systems rather than lazy practitioners who spend their energy and time just whinging about the current system as arm chair critics. Barry Cockcroft as Julie says IS a civil servant, he was CDO under Labour and is CDO under the Coalition government too, he is not politically appointed at all - if he was then the Coalition government could have just got rid of him and got rid of NHS dentistry - probably something all the commentators would like in this thread but not something that benefits poor patients who can't afford private treatment. Go back to practising dentistry rather than whinging about job titles...