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Welcome to this week’s newsletter. Tuesday saw the latest in a series of forums looking at dentistry. Priorities in Dentistry: prototype practices, regulation, and dental contract reform was put on by the Westminster Health Forum and discussed a wide range of topics surrounding the profession.
With speakers such as the BDA’s Mick Armstrong, recently-appointed National Dental Adviser to the CQC John Milne and GDC Chief Executive Evlynne Gilvarry, the event had the potential to be a fiery one. Whilst that didn’t materialise quite as I hoped, the event nonetheless produced some interesting moments. Personal highlights for me included the presentation by the Dental Defence Union’s Rupert Hoppenbrouwers discussing the rise in indemnity costs, which he directed almost entirely at Ms Gilvarry when discussing FtP cases and their exponential rise.
Another favourite was Dr Robin Mills’ desperate plea for more paediatric dentists for the UK and the comments made about child oral health. His catchphrase was ‘if you think education is expensive, try ignorance’.
Of course the biggest draw was Ms Gilvarry’s presentation, entitled Priorities for Regulation in Dental Services. In truth, its title should have been 2016 – the year everything will be ok at the GDC. Without addressing any of the real concerns that dentists have, Ms Gilvarry talked about how the timetable for change in legislation and therefore their ability to be better has slipped into 2016. She discussed their new and ongoing engagement with the profession and their working with defence bodies to try and develop their understanding of what the profession needs in terms of regulation. She did not discuss why the PSA think the GDC are the worst regulator for the second year running, or why the profession is still calling for radical change in the management of the GDC. She did however have to try and justify their existence (as did the CQC’s John Milne I might add) when one ‘Angry Dentist’ stood up and asked them in the wake of cases such as the D’Mello incident what their organisation actually did for all of the money they received from the profesion!
The one major take home point from the whole of the event came from COPDEND’s Helen Falcon, which was repeated by Mick Armstrong in his closing comments. Helen said that it was the responsibility of all dental professionals to promote the good things about dentistry, show professionalism in all that they do and be the positive change that the profession needs to ensure that dentistry’s voice is heard everywhere. So that is your challenge. Be the change you want to see in the profession. Write to your MP and explain how important oral care is and what you would like to see in the way of regulation and professionalism to allow you to do your best for your patients. If you wait for someone else to do it, it may be too late.
Let me know what you think by sending an email, or commenting below. Until next time...