BSP Patient Forum

The Patient Forum, led by Professor Ian Needleman, is made up of a group of volunteers who regularly meet to share their experiences and ideas. The Forum was established in 2017 to give a voice to the community to help shape the future of gum health in the UK and to work with our Society.

Originally, meetings were held in London but we are delighted that the BSP Patient Forum has now been extended to Scotland.  The Forum is a very active group and our patient volunteer numbers continue to grow. We have also started to use online meeting technology to bring all patients together which has proven very successful.

Professor Shauna Culshaw kindly leads the meetings which take place in Scotland.


The work of the Patient Forum is highly valued by the BSP and greatly helps us in our mission to improve care, research and awareness about gum health.

The BSP Patient Forum is kindly supported by an unrestricted grant from GSK.

Latest Patient Forum News

April 2023

Perhaps the most exciting piece of work in 2023 was the completion of a series of patient videos.  This work took place in London 2023 and involved experts and patients taking about a range of periodontal issues and patients’ experiences. It is hoped that the videos will be a useful resource to educate patients and the public about aspects of gum disease and gum health.

September 2022

Eight Forum members participated in BSP workshops to help formulate the “National guidelines for managing people with very severe forms of gum disease”.

In addition, Forum members provided helpful feedback on a series of patient information leaflets, all of which are now available for free download from the BSP website:

February 2022

Tow Forum members participated in the Acottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) project to revise their periodontal guidelines. One important part of this work has been to develop a glossary of terms that can be used when the work is complete. It is hoped this revision can be completed by the end of the year.

Also in February 2022, Professor Shauna Culshaw organised an Undergraduate Student Symposium at the Glasgow Dental Hospital entitled “Understanding the patient experience of Periodontitis”. The event was run online with five groups, each with twenty volunteers, one staff member and one patient volunteer. The students prepared a list of questions in advance for the patients. Following the symposium, the students completed a written assignment reflecting on how learning from the patient, outside of the clinical setting, had impacted them. The response was extremely positive with the benefits to students being clear and tangible. It is hoped that other UK Dental Schools will organise similar events. (The Glasgow Perio Symposium report can be found in the Patient Forum Reposrts section above.)

June 2021

Four Forum members supported NHS England in a London pilot of the diabetes gum health commissioning standard and its links to periodontal disease. The members attended three meetings and the Clinical Project Manager, Jyoti Mlait, was grateful for their insights, comments and suggestions, all of which were instrumental in helping improve the Pilot for wider roll out in England.

In addition, Patient Forum members gave valuable input to the S3 Treatment Guidelines lay flowchart designed for the public and patients. This helpful resource conveys the importance of gum health in a simplified, informative way. It was extremely important to the BSP to involve patients, who could present their important viewpoints on the guidance and language used. 

This lay flowchart will allow patients to empower themselves with evidence-based information to both take responsibility for aspects of their disease management and know that they are being offered appropriate, contemporary, evidence-based treatment.

Our aim in creating the resource for patients and the public include:

  • Help the public understand what gum disease is
  • Raise awareness of how you can look after your gums and maintain good oral health
  • Reduce the stigma associated with gum disease (as highlighted in “The Sound of Periodontitis” video) by identifying the many causes including smoking, diabetes etc.
  • Highlight that more can be done to aid gum health in addition to brushing your teeth
  • Encourage the patient to take ownership of their disease and highlight the ways they can do this

March 2021

On March 15th we held the first joint meeting of the London and Scottish Patient Forum. This was a very productive meeting and a great opportunity for the group to reflect on what they have achieved so far and what they wish to focus on over the coming months.

We were delighted to be joined by guest speaker, Jim Phillips, Director of Centre for Empowering Patients and Communities (CEmPaC). There was a lot we could learn from his experience of leading on the setting up of the NHS Expert Patient Programme and extensive involvement in training health and care professionals in key skills and approaches to support self-management both in the UK and Internationally.

Jim led an excellent session, entitled, “How do we support people to change health related behaviours”. He explored the complex relationship between patient expectations and clinicians’ behaviours and concepts now being used by the NHS to facilitate behaviour change.

Read the full report HERE

October 2020

In June, members attending our Annual General Meeting voted unanimously in favour of appointing a member of the BSP Patient Forum to serve on Council. The BSP, having interviewed three very worthy candidates, is delighted to appoint Julian Ekiert to this new role.

Professor West was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of all applicants and excited by the prospect of working more closely with a Patient Forum representative, “Julian has a wealth of skills and experience and will be an asset to the Society. He will undoubtedly challenge us with a patient’s perspective, but we shall embrace those challenges, as they will bring about necessary change and growth for the Society. The Council team and I look forward to welcoming Julian to our next meeting in December.”

Julian was delighted to be appointed and is looking forward to his new role, “ I believe the BSP Patient Forum can make a significant contribution to promoting awareness of gum disease and its serious impact on society. As a member of the BSP Council I will do all I can to promote this objective.”

July 2020

As you will know, the BSP changed its Constitution at the Annual General Meeting on the 15 June 2020, when members voted unanimously in favour of including a representative from the Patient Forum on Council.

BSP Council recognise how privileged we are as a professional society to have a Patient Forum with so much energy and excellent ideas and one that is so supportive of the BSP and the mission to improve gum health in the UK.

We are excited to commence the process of appointing a representative and look forward to the opportunity for closer engagement. The BSP is an incredibly supportive team and will provide guidance and support to the successful candidate, as they find their feet in this new role.

A copy of the role description and application form can be obtained by contacting our Executive General Manager, Paula Dunn:
The closing date for applications is the 21st August.

May/June 2020

The BSP was extremely grateful to six members of the Patient Forum who kindly participated in the recent workshops to review and adolop the EFP’s S-3 Evidenced-based Treatment Guidelines.The BSP had to rapidly review the guidelines, ensuring that they will be suitable for the UK healthcare system.

Professor West, who jointly led the project with Professor Kebschull, advised, "We were keen to involve several stakeholders in this project, from a variety of organisations, to gain a broader insight and include different perspectives when reviewing the clinical recommendations. It was also extremely important to the BSP to involve patients in the process, who could help us to consider the treatment guidelines from their point of view. I greatly appreciate the time that they dedicated to this project, not only in attending the meetings but also in pre-reading the documentation.  The Patient Forum members made incredibly valuable contributions to our discussions and helped to make the project a huge success."

The BSP now plan to publish this paper in the British Dental Journal. In addition, Professor Needleman and members of the Patient Forum will also be helping to create a lay version of the guidelines for the public and patients.

March 2020

The Patient Forum had a successful meeting earlier this year in London. 

We were delighted to be joined by Mr Derek Stewart OBE, who is internationally recognised for his work as a patient advocate regarding throat cancer but also much wider across healthcare. Derek led a fantastic “Making your voice heard” session, allowing the members to hack into his extensive experience to help develop their skills and confidence in advocacy for gum health.You can read Derek's reflective blog about the meeting via this link:

Professor Needleman was grateful to the volunteers for their enthusiasm on the day and remarked, “I was struck by how fortunate we are to work with a Forum who are so committed to improving oral health and supporting the BSP. Derek Stewart’s training was hugely helpful in providing a structure that Forum members can use to promote periodontal health when lobbying for change”.

Unfortunately, the Patient Forum meeting planned in Glasgow at the end March had to be postponed due to Covid-19.