My Journey with GDPUK
Eddie Crouch
My journey with GDPUK began in the year I became Secretary of Birmingham LDC in 2005. At the time Birmingham LDC were actively campaigning against the introduction of the 2006 contract and had already raised enough noise to generate a meeting with all Birmingham MPs.
At the time there were several high-profile posters on the website who came along to our LDC meetings and one suggested I looked at the GDPUK website in its previous incarnation as a Yahoo Chat Group, as many on the site were expressing equal concern about the now discredited UDA system, but at the time very much in its development stages.
So, I posted on there, and within days it became addictive and informative with my contributions to even the newer website totally 7500 postings, and presumably several thousand on the old website.
Fairly shortly after in 2006 I signed my contract in dispute, as many did, in fact at the time, the NHS Litigation Authority was so over run with disputes it took several years to deal with them. One of those disputes in my own contract lead me on a journey that was very much part of my GDPUK story.

The clause in question was the ability of the PCT (Primary Care Trust) at the time to terminate the contract without cause or reason, the infamous Clause 301A in a PDS agreement. A bit like paying your mortgage every month, but doing so within a contract that would allow the lender to take your house away at any time, without them having to tell you why.
I approached the BDA for support on challenging this, after I met a barrister who believed the clause was unreasonable, and not what Parliament would have intended. Unfortunately, at that time my relationship was strained as the BDA in taking their own legal advice believed my challenge had a poor chance of success.
So via the medium that was GDPUK an early version of crowd funding was launched, that in the end helped contribute more than 50% from my colleagues to my £140,000 legal costs of a Judicial Review.
Without the benevolence of my fellow GDPUKers and others, some of whom I have still never met, it would be possible that I would have indeed lost my house on my pursuit of legal justice. The Department of Health were so keen to maintain the clause after losing first in the High Court, they took it back to the High Court on appeal, to be finally determined by the Master of the Rolls (The Second Highest Judge in the land after the Lord Chief Justice) in my favour.
My Barrister who continued to be annoyed by the stance adopted by the BDA, agreed to represent me pro bono at this appeal.
I became elected as Chair Elect of the LDC Conference based on my GDPUK fame spreading across the dental press and eventually elected on the BDA General Practice Committee, and now finally into the role of Vice Chair of the BDA Principal Executive Committee. A progression that was never really planned but just evolved, in an effort to ensure my trade union supported injustice of dentists working within the failed system of the 2006 dental contract reforms.
It really does seem quite an irony, when looking back on my postings from 2005 to today that in those days over a decade ago, my criticism for the BDA is now one of promoting what the BDA are trying to do for members and I hope that I have in some way changed the mindset of a trade union with many others, that its role is to oppose unfair conditions and working arrangements for its members.
No organisation is without fault and I profess that sometimes the BDA does not get it right, but through my involvement in GDPUK it has been possible to hear opinion and direct those needing help, I also hope that by doing so, and explaining what the BDA are trying to achieve that those on the forum that are not members consider joining. Quite clearly going forward we need strong endeavours and numbers to push back on so many issues, that continue to lay heavy on us all.

Without the benevolence of my fellow GDPUKers and others, some of whom I have still never met, it would be possible that I would have indeed lost my house on my pursuit of legal justice.
20th Anniversary Magazine