What are we electing?

Like all good BDA members, I received ballot papers for its principal executive committee (PEC) and have sent them off in time for the deadline.

Now I know who I am electing, it’s the guys on the ballot paper. What I don’t understand is what I am electing.

When I vote in a Parliamentary election, the MP elected will decide on which laws I have to obey, which taxes to pay and should hold Ministers to account (or not).

Likewise, in a local election, the Councillor will decide on rates I pay and make sure my dustbin is emptied (or not). I also expect both MPs and councillors to devise and direct policy.

Now I understand that the BDA’s PEC will decide on how much I have to pay and should hold the chief executive and his staff to account.

But will it devise and direct policy? In particular with respect to general dental practice and specifically the pilots and new contract?

I read that the PEC, set up to comply with Trades Union legislation, will have responsibility for control and direction of the BDA’s work across the dental community, including all its committees.

This demotes the General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC) to playing second fiddle and means the PEC is in charge.

The reason this is important is what some call the ‘Kissinger question’.  Henry Kissinger is supposed (wrongly) to have said: ‘Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?’ After the elections the Department of Health may well say ‘Who do I call if I want to speak to the BDA?’

Will a Minister call the PEC or the GDPC? And will the answers the committees give be the same or different? The recent, wholly misleading press release on alleged fraud by dentists, shows the need for far stronger responses by the BDA to government action.

Not a squabble about who is responsible for setting policy and speaking for the profession.

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