Dental research shaping national policy

One of the University’s leading experts on professional standards and patient safety in dentistry has addressed a prestigious gathering of sector leaders in London on the issue of fair and effective regulation.

Tim O’Brien, Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry, along with Dr Daniel Zahra, Senior Assessment Psychometrician, was invited by the General Dental Council (GDC) to present findings of a new report based on detailed statistical analysis conducted by the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA). The analysis was commissioned by the GDC in order to underpin its work to ensure that regulation of dental professionals is proportionate, fair and effective.

Speaking at the King’s Fund to an audience including representatives from NHS England, the Welsh Government, the Royal College of Surgeons, and several professional associations, Mr O'Brien and Dr Zahra provided an overview of the work done over the past two years by the University.

CAMERA, an internationally-renowned group that works to improve healthcare through evidence-based education and research, has been conducting a detailed analysis of GDC-held data on dentists and dental practitioners who have been referred to its fitness-to-practice procedures. Using big data held by the GDC, the researchers including Marie Bryce, Senior Research Fellow, and Martin Roberts, Senior Assessment Psychometrician, explored trends and themes arising out of the statistics of those going into and through the process.

Mr O’Brien said: 

“The invitation to address such a prestigious gathering of professionals was a great opportunity to showcase the work of CAMERA, and in particular, to talk about what we believe to be a ground-breaking piece of research – one that has the potential to underpin the formulation of national policy and best practice for the future.”
The team has now submitted its report to the GDC and is looking at further projects with the national regulator.

Professor Julian Archer, Director of CAMERA, added: 

“In collaboration with the GDC, our research will support the work being undertaken to make regulation more effective, targeted, and fair for dental professions and importantly the public. In doing so, it could have a very positive impact upon patient care and workforce sustainability.”

CAMERA members

  • Professor of Medical Education Research
    Research interests: Regulation, revalidation, remediation
  • Senior Research Fellow in Medical Education
    Research interests: Regulation, revalidation
  • Research Fellow (CAMERA)
    Research interests: Regulation, revalidation
  • Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Physiology
    Research interests: medical education, neurotoxicology
  • Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer)
    Research interests: Technology enhanced assessments, simulation
  • Selection and Admissions Psychometrician
    Research interests: Selection
  • Lecturer in Medical Humanities
    Research intertests: Medical humanities
  • Lecturer in Assessment Psychometrics (Education)
    Research interests: Psychometrics
  • Senior Assessment Psychometrician
    Research interests: Psychometrics
  • Senior Administrator (Research Excellence)