About Us

SDPO group aims to support and represent Scottish Dental Practice Owners.

The only criterion for being a member of this group is that you must own a dental practice in Scotland. The group seeks to support and represent NHS, private and mixed practitioners.

Practice owners are key stakeholders in the provision of dental services across Scotland. We make substantial personal and financial investments into our businesses, we are employers and collectively we make a substantial contribution to the Scottish economy.

We believe that our investment deserves to be protected.

Practice owners deserve effective representation and we believe that this should include legal support in negotiations with external agencies, when necessary.

At this time the main focus of our attention is to protect the interests of NHS service providers in the face of unprecedented challenges. This is reflected in our September 2020 manifesto (please see below).

The focus of the group will shift to reflect the key issues facing the membership at any particular time. As issues arise, we run polls to establish the collective opinion of the group and use the results of these polls to guide our policy decisions.

We believe that the unity of practice owners is highly important to the success of the group in achieving positive outcomes for our membership.

We greatly value your support.


The committee of SDPO group feel that our main focus at this time should be:

  • To lobby Scottish Government for fair and reasonable treatment of NHS providers during and after the current crisis.
  • To challenge Scottish Government when we believe they have not acted reasonably.
  • To promote the development and implementation of a better model for NHS GDS in Scotland, in consultation with the profession.

Most practice owners in Scotland have some involvement in NHS GDS, albeit to different extents. The terms applicable to NHS GDS are determined solely by Scottish Government.

The current NHS GDS terms and the lack of reasonable engagement with the profession by Scottish Government are unsatisfactory and threaten the sustainability of the service.

We believe we must address this situation using all means at our disposal. We will continue to:

  • poll our members on key issues to establish the collective position
  • raise the concerns of our members by writing to the CDO, Health Boards and MSPs
  • issue Press Releases and work with the media when appropriate

We will also explore legal options which might help protect the interests of NHS providers.

At present we are particularly concerned about:

  • changes to the contract (SDR) without reasonable consultation
  • inequalities in the financial support measures
  • the decision to subtract fees earned under SDR 143, before the lockdown, from support payments
  • the reintroduction of NHS treatments but with zero fees

Preliminary legal advice suggests these policies could be challenged through the courts.

Legal action will be expensive and would need financed via a crowd funding campaign.

The potential benefits to the profession now and in the future could be significant.

Practice owners are key stakeholders in the delivery of NHS GDS. We continue to believe that there is strength in unity, and we hope that practice owners across the country will continue to support the group for the betterment of our profession and the public.

We will run a poll seeking endorsement of the position set out in this manifesto. We will subsequently require members to indicate their willingness to contribute to legal costs, as described above.

Steering Committee

Our Statement

The SDPO group currently represents 469 dental practice owners across Scotland. The teams within these practices provide care to approximately 3.5 million patients and make a substantial contribution to public oral health nationwide.

A key remit of the group is to promote change for the betterment of dental services in Scotland. We believe that practices across Scotland and in all communities should be able to offer modern and high-quality oral healthcare consistent with that of other highly developed nations. We also wish to promote the role of dental teams in improving public health and we believe there is potential for this role to be enhanced.

Our members currently have grave concern about the sustainability of general dental services and the public health consequences if dental practices fail or withdraw from the NHS in the aftermath of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, NHS dentistry was becoming increasingly unsustainable in general practice. Our members were frustrated by compromises to patient care inherent in the NHS model of working, and remuneration of NHS treatment failed to reflect the cost of delivering high quality care.

In May 2010, the Scottish Government published its document, ‘Healthcare quality strategy for NHS Scotland’ and this included several laudable statements of intent. We believe that in general dental services, these goals have yet to be achieved and opportunities to improve public oral health have been missed. Below are some of the Scottish Government (SG) statements together with SDPO observations.

SG: The ultimate aim of our Quality Strategy is to deliver the highest quality healthcare services to people in Scotland and through this to ensure that NHSScotland is recognised by the people of Scotland as amongst the best in the world.

SDPO: Our members are of the opinion that general dental services have not been sufficiently resourced to allow the delivery of the highest quality healthcare to the people of Scotland.

SG: Success will mean that, for the first time. People in Scotland will have:

  • an assurance that NHSScotland services will be further improved in the light of what people tell us about their experiences and outcomes;
  • a guarantee that their NHS Board will prioritise quality in its agenda, including the use of a new early warning system.

SDPO: Ten year since the publication of the document, yet in dentistry there does not appear to have been any significant revision in the delivery of the NHS dental services to promote quality. There is little or no evidence that The Scottish Government has reacted to the concerns of the profession over this period and the increasing financial pressure on the NHS dental providers is not consistent with a focus on quality of care. Dental practices need to be adequately resourced to enable them to effectively perform their public health role.

SG: We want confidence for people working in and with NHSScotland that they are doing what they came into the NHS to do, are valued and are key in delivering the ambition to make NHSScotland a world leader. We want a shared national pride in our NHS and a recognition that it is the very best it can be.

SDPO: Our members and our colleagues working in NHSScotland do not feel that they have ever been valued by the Scottish Government. Numerous surveys have shown dentists working in National Health Services have low morale. These surveys have also highlighted the high incidence of depression among general dental practitioners. The current system does not afford NHS dentists the time or resources to treat patients as effectively and completely as they would like.

SG: We are all aware of the challenges in delivering reliable and responsive high-quality healthcare, and in improving people’s health. These include increased public expectations, changes in lifestyles, demographic change, an ageing population, new opportunities from developments in technology and information, and the current economic climate which brings with it significant financial constraints. The Quality Strategy provides the basis for us all to focus our combined efforts on what is required to address these current and future challenges, and to ensure high quality healthcare for ourselves and for generations to come.

SDPO: Our members understand the financial pressures on government, and that this will be more acute after the pandemic. As dentistry becomes more advanced there is a broad consensus that many treatments will lie outside what a current National health Dental services system can support.

However, good oral health is a key contributor to good general health. Numerous studies show that poor oral health and tooth loss is associated with a range of systemic conditions. Perhaps for adult patients NHS spending should focus on a range of core treatments which enables clinicians to secure and maintain oral health. These treatments should be funded such that they can be delivered to a high standard, in accordance with the government strategy document previously referenced. Discussion around the content of a core range of treatments would be required, but we would suggest that this includes protection of the integrity of the reduced dental arch, excluding implants.

It is also worth noting that dentists are highly trained and highly skilled healthcare professionals who enjoy a unique position in that they have regular contact with many of their patients. Our profession is in an excellent position to support the government in achieving objectives outlined in its document ‘Healthcare quality strategy for NHS Scotland’. We are well placed to promote smoking cessation, diet improvement and exercise to large numbers of individuals who may rarely visit a doctor. In conclusion we believe that a new model for the delivery of national health general dental services should be developed with close cooperation between the government and the key stakeholders.

The new model should focus on quality and effectiveness and the potential of our profession to sustain and enhance its contribution to overall public health. As the representative body of the majority of dental practice owners in the country, SDPO wishes to work with the government to achieve these goals. Patients, dental teams, and Scottish government all stand to benefit if an effective and sustainable model is developed.

Our Constitution

1. Overview of the group

The aim of this group is to represent the views of Scottish Dental Practice Owners who are significant stake holders in the delivery of Health care in Scotland and additionally major economic contributors.

The group was set up by Usman Ullah, a general dental practice owner in Glasgow on the 21st March 2020 as forum for the bringing together of Scottish Dental Practice Owners in order to more effectively co-operate with one another, pool resources, exchange information and articulate their views collectively to external parties to assist our country though a very difficult time as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The dental practice owners group and has grown rapidly since then.

2. Remit of the group

  1. The provision of a platform to connect Scottish Dental Practice Owners and to enable the discussion of issues affecting this group. The platform aims to provide a safe and supportive environment where members feel comfortable expressing opinions and concerns.
  1. We intend to use this platform to establish the collective opinion of the membership, around the key issues affecting Scottish Dental Practice at any given time. This should enable the SDPO leadership to adopt a clear and unified position on behalf of the group, in discussions with external agencies like Scottish Government.
  1. We wish to promote change for the betterment of the profession across Scotland. Practices across Scotland and in all communities, should be able to offer modern, high quality healthcare, consistent with that available in other highly developed nations. Scottish Dental Practices should be valued as key contributors to the overall health of the nation and should be afforded the status and funding to reflect this important role. The committee will work to achieve these objectives and our Position Paper will develop these themes further over time.

3. Membership

Membership of the group will be restricted to Scottish Dental Practice Owners.

The sole requirement is that you are a practice owner in Scotland. If there are more than one owner they can all be part of the group even although they own the same Practice. Non dental members can equally be involved in the group.

4. SDPO Committee

The role of the committee is to provide firstly a unifying platform for Scottish dental Practice owners and then to use this platform via its committee members to help articulate and amplify their concerns. It will also act as a body that can be contacted if another organisation/s would wish to do so to get feedback and opinion.

Attendance of Committee meetings will be recorded and the records published annually.

The composition of the committee will be as follows:

The committee will not be Regional with respect to Health Board boundaries but will look to get a broad distribution as possible from the different geographical locations in Scotland.

The main focus will be to have an effective WC that can listen to its members from all regions of Scotland

Size : (n=13)

Ad hoc members may be co-opted onto the Committee for specific agenda items for a limited term (normally not exceeding 12 months).

Each representative will be nominated or elected from SDPO group, with an alternative. To be eligible for nomination the person should be a member of the SDPO and should be proposed and seconded by group members (committee members may act as proposers or seconders). An election only needs to be held if more nominations are received than posts available.

Membership types

Chairperson; a Scottish Dental Practice Owner;

  • Nominations for the chair of SDPO will be sought from the SDPO committee.
  • The chair will be elected by the members of the SDPO committee.
  • The term of office will be two years; the chair shall not serve more than two
  • consecutive terms.

Vice Chair; a Scottish Dental Practice Owner;

  • Nominations for the chair of SDPO will be sought from the SDPO committee.
  • The Vice Chair will be elected by the members of the SDPO committee.
  • The term of office will be two; the Vice Chair shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Secretary; a Scottish Dental Practice Owner;

  • Nominations for the secretary of SDPO will be sought from the SDPO committee.
  • The Secretary will be elected by the members of the SDPO committee.
  • The term of office will be 1 years; Secretary shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Communications Officer; a Scottish Dental Practice Owner;

  • Nominations for the communications officer of SDPO will be sought from the
  • SDPO committee.
  • The communications officer will be elected by the members of the SDPO.
  • The term of office will be 1 years; Communications officer shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Ordinary members

The term of office for all ordinary members will be 1 years, with an option to

renew at the end of the first year; shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Essential criteria of clinical members include;

  • Relevant & current experience in Scottish Dental Practice Ownership.
  • Individual enthusiasm and passion for the subject
  • Contribute to the SDPO Group at a national/ strategic level as well as being able to provide a regional/ local overview

5. Role of Chair

  • To be responsible in ensuring ensure the smooth and harmonious operation and effectiveness of the WC and the its communication with SDPO group along with the Vice Chair.
  • Has the right to remove unaligned/ disengaged members of the WC in order to maintain an effective and harmonious environment for the WC.
  • To be the ‘public face’ of SDPO and promote its activities at every opportunity.
  • To ensure SDPO strategic requirements are supported and developed by the SDPO committee in line with the remit of the constitution.

6. Role of Vice Chair

  • To support the chair in their role
  • To act as the chair in such occasion that the chair cannot be present

7. Term of Office

Committee members may choose to end their term early, and submit their resignation. This should be done in writing to the Secretary. There would be an expected notice period of one month in order to perform an orderly handover of duties. In exceptional circumstances there may be a resignation with immediate effect.

When a vacant place is available on the committee, it must be advertised to all members. It is not the decision of the current committee to elect members directly to these posts. The call may be made and allow nominations to be made in a 28-day period. To be eligible for nomination the person should be a member of the SDPO and should be proposed and seconded by group members (committee members may act as proposers, seconders). An election only needs to be held if more nominations are received than posts available.

8. Meetings

Committee meetings will be held six times a year or bimonthly and will on the first Wednesday of the month.

Each Committee member’s attendance should be at least 3 out of 6 meetings per year.

If a Committee member does not attend the minimal requirement meetings, then their membership will be reviewed by the SDPO Group. If a member

cannot give this commitment to the SDPO Committee, an alternative representative should be found and the committee member asked to step down.

Meetings will normally be held via Zoom platform.

Venues such as dental practices in Scotland may be used. The full

Committee will meet at least four times per year, with other meetings as required.

Notice of a meeting will be decided 1 year in advance.

The Executive of the Committee (Chair, Vice-Chair, Communications

Officer, Secretary,) may meet more frequently, with close communication with the other members of the Committee.

There is a quorum at a general meeting if the number of Members present in person is at least 5 If a quorum cannot be met the committee meeting should be rearranged within one calendar month.

The minutes of the meetings will be sent to the SPDO group within 1 week of the meeting.

9. Voting at Meetings

A resolution at a general meeting will be decided by a show of hands. Every issue is decided by a majority of the votes cast. Every member present has one vote on each issue.

10. Annual General Meetings (AGM)

An Annual General Meeting will be held once a year. This is the opportunity for the Committee to update the group as to the work it has done.

  • Group members must be given 30 days notice of an AGM
  • A list of available Committee positions must be circulated
  • Notice of any proposed constitutional changes must be given.
  • To be quorate, 10% of the current membership of the group must be present.
  • If quorum is not achieved, then no changes to the constitution can be made.

Requests and additions to the agenda should be made in writing to the secretary no less than 10 days before the date of the meeting.

11. Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM)

An EGM may be called by the Committee on application in writing to the Secretary, which is supported by, and bears the signatures of, at least 10% of the members of the club. The date and time of an EGM must be publicised to all of the members at least 5 days in advance. The agenda should be circulated at least 3 days in advance.An EGM may be called when the members wish to:

  • Amend a rule of SDPO.
  • Amend the constitution.
  • Discuss any other important or urgent matters that cannot wait until a committee meeting or AGM (such as retirement of committee members).
  • An EGM may be called with 7 days notice.

12. Records

The secretary will keep proper records of:

  • All resolutions passed otherwise than at an AGM.
  • All proceedings at general and committee meetings
  • All reports of Subcommittees
  • All reports of professional advice obtained

The records must be kept for 10 years from the date of the resolution.

13. Reporting Structure

The Chairperson reports to the Chief Dental Officer within the Civil Service and to Scottish Goverment.

14. Time Limit for Constitution

In view of the fact that this is a new organisation, and the direction may need to be altered reflecting rapid changes in the dental profession, this constitution should be reviewed. The constitution has been written with a 12-month time limit. It is expected that the serving committee at the time will rewrite the constitution to fit current challenges at the time. The time frame for reviewing the constitution is June 2021.

Code of Conduct

As stated in the Remit section of the SDPO Constitution, which was approved by the membership on the 11th July 2020, this group aims to provide Scottish Dental Practice Owners with a safe and supportive platform on which to discuss and debate the key issues affecting Scottish Dental Practice. SDPO is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion among the membership. The aim is for the group to be truly representative of all sections of the dental practice owners community and for each member to feel respected and comfortable in expressing their views. In terms of conduct:

  • Members are required to be polite and respectful to others, in all interactions.
  • Members should take care to ensure that they do not intentionally hurt, offend, or humiliate
  • Members should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language
  • Members must refrain from personal attacks Members must have the best interests of the group at heart. Any actions which undermine the group position will be regarded as a breach of the Code of Conduct.
  • Members must try to ensure that they do not post fake or misleading information
  • Members must not use the group to promote their own business interests or to in any way damage the business interests of others.

In cases where it appears that a member of SDPO has breached the Code of Conduct, the details will be considered by the committee. If the committee determine that there was no breach, then no further action will be taken, and interested parties advised accordingly. Warnings may be given for minor breaches. Where a breach of the Code of Conduct is deemed by the committee to be serious, or where a member repeatedly breaches to Code of Conduct, then that member will be removed from the group. If a group member is concerned that a breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred, they should report this to the committee for investigation. Where the committee feel that a serious breach of the Code of Conduct has occurred, they reserve the right to suspend the member from the group, pending further investigation. This document will be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.