In March 2022, the College launched its landmark new route to fellowship based on experience, and invited dental professionals to apply. We asked four members who recently gained Fellowship through the new “by experience” route, to tell us about their professional journey and how their experience led them to Fellowship.


Anoup Nandra FCGDent

Q. Can you tell us about yourself and your career?

A. I graduated from Birmingham Dental School in 2002 and completed my vocation training in London. I returned to Birmingham to become an associate in a mixed practice, Edgbaston Dental Centre, becoming a partner in 2006. Later in 2014, I set up Rock Dental, a private practice.

I’ve been fortunate to have amazing colleagues around me, and together we have pursued various forms of post graduate education. Over the years I’ve completed restorative training at the FDGP/RCS, along with implant training at the Eastman. I became involved in vocational training early in my career, and through this was encouraged to complete a certificate in medical education. Most recently, I have started an LLM in medical law. I guess I could be described as a bit of a dental geek!

I still have a huge passion for clinical wet fingered dentistry with my main interests being surgical dentistry and restorative dentistry. Over the years, I have learned about the management side of the business and how to adapt to the changing climate in dentistry.

Outside of dentistry, I can usually be found playing cricket somewhere, or watching my children play cricket!

Q. Why did you decide to apply for Fellowship of the College?

A. Very early on in my career, I embarked upon the FGDP career progression pathway with the ultimate aim of Fellowship being a personal ambition of mine.

Throughout university and my early career, I was mentored by amazing clinicians, many of which were Fellows, or had encouraged me to aim to achieve Fellowship in the future.

On multiple occasions I enrolled onto the FGDP fellowship programme, but for various reasons I simply did not have the time to begin. Life got in the way, and a had almost given up on having the time to complete my Fellowship.

When the College of General Dentistry was formed, naturally, being a huge supporter of the College, I transferred over my membership and joined the College. At this point, I was approached by one of my mentors who suggested that I look at the “’by experience” route. I looked at the criteria, and realised that, over the years, I had gained quite a bit of the required experience, and now, I would meet almost all the criteria. Naturally, I jumped at the chance and the rest is history!

Q. Which three of the five fellowship domains does your professional experience meet?

A. Although meeting the requirement of only three domains out of the available five was required, I attempted to meet the criteria of all five.

For the Clinical Domain, I was able to use my MSc in Implant Dentistry along evidence of having worked as a referral practitioner to meet the requirements.

I satisfied the criterial for the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Domain as I had completed a PG Certificate in Medical Education and could provide evidence of my role as an educational supervisor / trainer in the West Midlands Deanery for at least four years.

To meet the requirements of the Leadership & Management Domain, I used a reference from my practice accountant showing that I had been a principal for at least ten years, along with evidence of my practice meeting the BDA Good Practice Scheme over the last three years.

As evidence in the Publications & Research Domain, I used my Masters research dissertation.

For the Law & Ethics Domain, I was able to demonstrate that I had completed the first two years of an LLM in legal aspects of medical practice (to certificate level) and was able to provide evidence of having completed at least 60 expert witness reports.

Q. What would you say to others who are considering applying for Fellowship through the experience route?

A. For all of you that meet the qualification criteria, the Fellowship is a great way of supporting your college and a way of recognising all the effort you have put into your career over the years!

To anyone considering applying for Fellowship through the experience route, I would say go for it! Give it a go, you will be amazed, as I was, how much relevant experience you will have gained over the years. The process of collating all the evidence itself is valuable – you will find that you have probably achieved so much more than you realise! The application route is fair and allows you to use a wide range of evidence to support your case. The College is also incredibly helpful in guiding you through the process and making sure that you are directing your efforts correctly.

I remain grateful for the guidance that I have been given over the years by my mentors, and by my peers. Although achieving the level of a Fellow was a personal goal, I think it also reflects the support I have received when following this structured career pathway over the last 20 years. I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone considering this route.


Wendy Thompson FCGDent

Q. Can you tell us about yourself and your career?

A. I have been a general dental practitioner based in Cumbria for ten years, but dentistry is actually my second career.

I started my working life as a Fast Stream Scientist at the Ministry of Defence, after graduating from the University of Warwick with a degree in microbiology. At MOD, I delivered policy and big projects, such as being project planner for the new aircraft carriers and establishing the missile defence centre (a government-industry partnership).

After my family and I decided to move back to Lancashire, I spent some time working for Lancashire County Council on partnerships and community engagement. During this period, I decided to do some serious soul searching about what I valued and wanted out of life.

That was when I decided to embark on a new career and go back to university. Luck was on my side because UCLAN is not far down the M6 from home and they had just set up a new BDS course with University of Liverpool. It’s now ten years since I graduated and I still love treating patients. But just treating patients five days a week was never going to completely fulfil me. As a foundation dentist, I undertook an audit about antimicrobial prescribing, which due to my background became something of a route map for dental antimicrobial stewardship. It wasn’t long before I became a member of the NICE antimicrobial stewardship guideline development. And then someone said ‘You should do a PhD!’. Ha! Me? A PhD??

Anyway, next stop was a PhD at University of Leeds with Prof Gail Douglas, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through a doctoral research fellowship (the first GDP to receive one). In hindsight, my PhD had the most ironic title – “Antibiotic prescribing towards a reduction during urgent dental care in England”. The pandemic hit just a few months after I graduated and antibiotic prescribing rose dramatically.

Throughout my PhD I continued to deliver clinical dentistry, as a GDP in Bradford, and feel that my academic work really benefitted from my clinical work (and vice versa). Following my PhD, I moved to University of Manchester as an NIHR clinical lecturer in primary dental care . The post is essentially 50% academic and 50% clinical dentistry (as a GDP in Kirkby Lonsdale). My first week coincided with the national COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. What an interesting time to start a new job – especially when your research interest is antibiotic prescribing and urgent dental care!

Over the years, I’ve taken on various national and international roles, including the College’s lead on Antimicrobial Resistance, a member of the College’s research panel and a College Ambassador.

Q. Why did you decide to apply for Fellowship of the College?

A. Fellowship of the College has a kudos; it’s a mark that you have achieved a certain level of expertise and breadth in your career. College Fellowship is valued in academia and demonstrates I have a broad influence within the profession. I went for the Fellowship by experience route because I could see that I would meet the criteria needed to qualify and it would be a straightforward process.

Q. Which three of the five Fellowship domains does your professional experience meet?

A. I chose the Publications & Research Domain, the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Domain and the Leadership & Management Domain. I managed to achieve the gateway criteria in all three domains which meant I didn’t need to provide a full portfolio of evidence.

On taking up an academic post at the University of Manchester, the New Academics Programme (NAP) is provided which leads to Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Having submitted my NAP portfolio in January, I was pleased when my FHEA was confirmed as I could use it as part-qualifying for the Teaching, Learning & Assessment domain. The other part was providing evidence that I have been a visiting lecturer on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UCLan since 2015.

For the Leadership & Management Domain, I was able to reference my international work, including as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists (ICD). In addition, I referenced my work with the FDI World Dental Federation; I am a member of its science committee and chair of its antibiotics working group and early career research network, as well as lead author of its white paper on the essential role of dental teams at tackling antibiotic resistance which I’ve  repurposed as an online course (free via the FutureLearn website).

The Publications & Research Domain was achieved through evidencing my PhD.

Q. What would you say to others who are considering applying for Fellowship through the experience route?

A. Do it! The journey to fellowship has been hard work and enormous fun. Working towards gaining Fellowship through the experience route is a great way to plan out your career progression as you work towards broadening your skills, becoming a more rounded dentist, and enabling you to have a lasting impact on the profession.


Peter Martin FCGDent

Q. Can you tell us about yourself and your career?

A. After growing up in Portsmouth I moved to Liverpool to study dentistry, graduating in 1986. I became a father as an undergraduate and went into practice as an associate in a high-needs part of north Liverpool where I stayed for five years working almost entirely in the highly pressured NHS.

After this grounding and helping a colleague setting up a practice, I became a practice owner, buying a single-handed practice in St Helens in 1992. I was invited to be a Clinical Assistant in Orthodontics and expanded the practice by becoming a Vocational Trainer in 1998. After much toil and sacrifice, including a partial Denplan conversion in 2000, the practice grew. A part-time salaried position in a Dental Access Centre for three years helped to pay the tax bill.

I continued in Vocational Training and then Foundation Training and became a postnominal collector. I achieved membership of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) in 2002 and MFDSRCS(Eng) the following year. In 2004-6, I was in Cohort 1 of the DipRestDent at MANDEC. Lots of CPD and tutoring later, I still work in St Helens with a five-surgery practice, have a grown-up daughter, and live with my partner, while spending my little free time walking, quizzing and living a simple life.

Q. Why did you decide to apply for Fellowship of the College?

A. As mentioned above, I like to collect letters after my name. I received an email from the newly formed CGDent with details of the fellowship by experience path (having already been awarded AssocFCGDent because of my Postgrad Diploma), realised that I could tick the relevant boxes and applied. It is a nice feeling to be told that I am officially a senior member of the profession, despite still having a degree of imposter syndrome after more than 35 years in practice.

Many of my closest friends at Dental School had sat FDSRCS (the main means to have a career path prior to the FGDP) and developed specialist hospital careers before “specialties” existed. A feeling of inferiority was natural – it was implied that GDPs were lesser beings by our hospital-based undergraduate teachers – but it was also motivational.

 I have experienced many changes in dental practice – the expectations in 1986 were a job as an NHS dentist, possibly practice ownership, until retirement. Now we have huge opportunities to acquire skills and training and to enjoy fulfilling careers – the letters after our names massage egos, but the real joy is in knowing we have progressed in ways earlier generations couldn’t.

Q. Which three of the five fellowship domains does your professional experience meet?

A. The Domains I chose were Clinical; Teaching, Learning & Assessment; and Leadership & Management.

Having a large appetite for CPD meant I could demonstrate externally-verified clinical skills via the DipRestDentRCS(Eng).

To demonstrate my commitment to education I showed that I was awarded a PGCert in Teaching & Learning in Clinical Practice in 2017 and was Postgraduate Tutor in the Mersey Deanery/HEENW for 11 years. I was a Vocational Trainer/ FD Educational Supervisor for 20 graduates and a letter from Anne, one of my former Training Programme Directors was needed to verify this. I am also a member of the Faculty of Dental Trainers RCS(Ed).

Having been a practice owner since 1992, served on an LDC and experienced new contracts imposed by the NHS, the invention of the CQC, changes to employment law, the rise of the corporates and imposition of clinical governance, I had some experience of leadership and management in dental practice. This was accepted as satisfying the Leadership & Management Domain requirements. I also had membership of the BDA Good Practice Scheme and obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Dental Health Service Leadership & Management from the FGDP(UK) in 2010.

Q. What would you say to others who are considering applying for fellowship through the experience route?

A. The application process was straightforward and open, not like my experience of the assessment for Fellowship of the FGDP(UK). The criteria are clear and I believe, highly suitable for the purpose of demonstrating the range of skills and experience expected of “senior” practitioners. I would advise anyone with a suitable career history to apply and for those at an earlier stage to use the domains as a guide to career development.


Kaushik Paul FCGDent

Q. Can you tell us about yourself and your career?

A. I am a General Dental Practitioner in the Midland and London areas and the Clinical Director for MyDentist for the North West and Central regions, covering 150 practices.

Previously to this, I was an associate dentist at High Street Dental Practice for the past 11 years and have been a Foundation Dentist Trainer in general practice. I was also a Tier 2 Oral surgery Provider involving sedation in various practices within the Midlands region. I work part time at the Birmingham Dental Hospital as Speciality Dentist in Oral Surgery and as Clinical Lecturer in Oral Surgery at the School of Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham.

In these clinical roles, I am actively involved in the delivery of General Dental Services along with Minor Oral Surgery services.

I completed my BDS in India and then undertook the IQE examination in 2005 to register to work in the UK. Following this, I completed a Diploma in Conscious Sedation from Newcastle University and my MFDS and MJDF from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Royal College of Surgeons of England respectively. I gained the Certificate in Dental Practice Appraisal and Certificate in Minor Oral Surgery from the FGDP, along with a MSc in Oral Surgery from UCLAN.

I also hold a Post Graduate certificate in Dental Practice Appraisal and Leadership and Management. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy having undertaken a PG Certificate in Education.

I have a great passion for teaching and am actively involved in teaching, assessments, career planning and supporting undergraduate teaching and recruitment within Dental school and in Dental Foundation training and have taught on the MSc programmes at Warwick University. I’ve also tutored for the MJDF and am now on the Advisory Board for the MFDS examination with the RCSEd. I am currently involved in shaping the delivery of local dental services in the Staffordshire and Shropshire area as a member of the local LPN.

 I have been closely involved in mentoring and have worked as a Clinical Practice Advisor for 18 practices and as the CPD tutor within the Rodericks Group. Further, I have worked closely with the deanery to support colleagues through design and delivery of individualised mentoring pathways for clinicians with varied needs.

Outside of work, I relish food, traveling and shopping. I support a number of charities and am passionate about equality of opportunity for all.

Q. Why did you decide to apply for Fellowship of the College?

A. The fellowship of a college usually signifies a recognition of years of work and dedication to one’s professional career and also to the wider profession. Having been associated with the College from its inception and indeed from the times when it was FGDP, it was but natural that I seek to be a member and when the opportunity arose, aspire to be a fellow of the College. The “by experience” route allowed me to showcase years of work and use it to gain the fellowship.

Q. Which three of the five fellowship domains does your professional experience meet?

A. I applied for the fellowship under the Clinical; Teaching, Learning & Assessment; and Leadership & Management Domains. In the Clinical Domain, I was able to meet the gateway criteria based on achieving a Masters in Oral Surgery, along with other qualifications. Similarly, my teaching experience allowed me to meet the gateway criteria for the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Domain. My work as a clinical director and as a clinical advisor within corporate dentistry meant that I met the gateway criteria for the Leadership & Management Domain.

Q. What would you say to others who are considering applying for Fellowship through the experience route?

A. I think it is a fantastic opportunity for practitioners who have diverse and enhanced careers in general dental practice, to be recognised for it through the fellowship by experience pathway. Additionally, gaining fellowship associates them to a College that is progressive, inclusive and recognises all members of the dental profession. As a young College that is seeking to enhance and widen its membership and scope, this is the time for members of the GDP community to contribute through their experience and skills and make a difference in the dental landscape.

Congratulations to new Fellows Anoup Nandra, Wendy Thompson, Peter Martin and Kaushik Paul, and to all those who have been awarded Fellowship of the College of General Dentistry.

Dental professionals can apply for admission to Fellowship of the College – the mark of accomplishment in dentistry – by two routes: Fellowship by Experience and Fellowship by Equivalence.

To apply for Fellowship by the Fellowship by Experience route, you will need to submit a CV and detailed evidence showing how you meet the eligibility criteria for three of the five fellowship domains. The domains are: Clinical; Teaching, learning & assessment; Leadership & management; Publications & research; Law & ethics. We have “Gateway” criteria which require less evidence and will be processed more quickly, if you meet all these requirements.

Full details about routes to Fellowship and how to apply are available here.

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