Principle Executive Committee Election Statements

For the first time ever, two active members of the BDA West of Scotland Division will be on the ballot for the BDA Principle Executive Committee! This is your chance to vote for them and have representatives from the West of Scotland influence the future course of the BDA for the next 3 years. Ballot papers will be delivered to all full members at the address where they receive their BDJ in the week commencing 11 November and will close on Thursday 5 December.

robbie thomson

Robbie Thomson, Chair of WoS Branch Council

I graduated BDS from Glasgow in 1981 and immediately entered general practice in Ayrshire as a VT in one of the early pilot schemes. I was a trainer in the Scottish Vocational Training Scheme over a period of 22 years and had the great privilege of supporting early career colleagues in their critical formative years in general dental practice. Having spent 37 years in practice, 35 of them in the same location, I left general dental services in 2018 and now work with NHS Education Scotland (NES) as a Mentor supporting “Dentists in Difficulty”. Additionally, I provide dental advice to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman helping to resolve complaints. I have MJDF RCS by examination (2013) and was awarded MFDS RCPS Glasgow in 2014. In 2015 I was elected as President of the West of Scotland Branch of the BDA and I have been Chair of the WoS Branch Council since 2016. I am an active member of the West of Scotland Division of the FGDP (UK), have been a tutor for the MJDF exam since 2015, Board member from 2014, and at present I am Assistant Director FGDP (WoS) and Chair of the Glasgow Dental Educational Trust.

Having never considered myself to be politically motivated, I am troubled by the direction of the PEC and feel I would like to challenge some of their recent decisions and, hopefully, help set future policies with them:

  • BDA Indemnity product. I wonder if it is the role of the BDA to sell insurance policies to their members and question the wisdom of the introduction of this product.
  • Accessibility of BDA advisors to members. I feel that all members of the association, irrespective of membership category, should have direct access to personal advice.
  • Play a prominent role in combating “burnout” and relieving stress in dentistry. I believe that the BDA are ideally placed to help provide pastoral care, not only to “Dentists in Difficulty”, but also to all members of the dental profession.

Our Association and profession face a challenging future with the uncertainties of Brexit, including escalating material and sundries costs, a potential manpower crisis and increasing financial constraints on general dental practice. Strong leadership through the BDA, and the PEC in particular, is essential if the profession is to address these challenges, and I believe that I possess the necessary experience and resolve to help the PEC steer our course.

laura cross

Laura Cross, Hospital Dentist Representative on BDA Scottish Council

It would be an honour to be elected to the Scottish seat on PEC. As well as bringing a female point of view, I would bring my passion for Dentistry, my pride in all the work our Association does for its members and my experience gained from representing BDA members on Scottish and UK craft committees (2015-ongoing); Scottish Council (2018-ongoing) and BMA Scotland’s Scottish Consultants Committee (2015-ongoing). Boards of Directors everywhere are improving their gender balance in recognition that diverse groups out-perform homogenous groups. Currently around 47% of registered dentists are female, yet, in 2019, only one of the fifteen members of PEC is a woman. In “agreeing the strategy, policy and business operational plans for the Association” it is important that PEC membership reflects the diversity of today’s BDA members. Voting for me would help move towards that.

My BDA Committee work, especially at Country Council level, has allowed me to work closely with colleagues based in General Dental Practice and the Public (formerly Community) Dental Service. This close-working has been essential as the Oral Health Improvement Plan is implemented across Scotland and I have joined with primary care colleagues to present – at Government and health board level- united BDA support for Scottish dentists as these changes are introduced.

Locally, I have worked closely with LDC representatives from both GDS and PDS on the Area Dental Committee. This has increased my understanding of the pressures on dentists working in these different areas and through mutual respect and a better understanding of the pressures on both primary and secondary dental care providers we have worked together very successfully, helped by our common desire to do our best for our patients, despite NHS budget constraints and ever- increasing bureaucracy.

My work as a Restorative Dentistry Consultant/ Hon Clinical Associate Professor keeps me in touch with the needs of NHS hospital dentists, clinical academic colleagues, dental students and new graduates. I attend local BDA branch meetings and benefit from the varied educational programme on offer but most of all from the opportunity to meet up with BDA members, from all spheres of practice and at all stages in their careers.

I hope you will give me your vote so I can ensure the BDA continues to be there for all its members, representing them and supporting them whilst always recognising their diversity.