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

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.