BADN Presidential Column by Debra Worthington, President 2022-2024

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On Thursday 9 March I headed off to the General Dental Council (GDC) in London - the first time since lockdown that I have attended a face-to-face meeting in the capital. The journey was almost thwarted by the snow but I managed to get there and back with only a slight delay of 15 minutes.

The day was introduced by Dr Joanne Rewcastle, Associate Director, Communications and Engagement. Dr Rewcastle outlined the GDC's purpose and the role other organisations play in the 'system'. The main purpose is public protection, health, safety and wellbeing of the public, public confidence in dental professionals and professional standards and conduct.

The purpose for creating the Dental Leadership Network is to encourage collaborative working between the GDC and professional associations, to resolve shared challenges.

The second speaker was Stefan Czerniawski, GDC Executive Director of Strategy. His presentation focussed on:

  • The recent report on hospital tooth extractions on 0-19-year olds.1 For the financial year 2021-2022, tooth decay was still the most common reason for hospital admission for children between the ages of six and ten

  • The new legal framework for international registration

  • The Scope of Practice consultation. This is centred on protecting patients by:

    • Guiding dental professionals to practise safely within clear boundaries of their role

    • Being supportive and guiding - supports and guides professional decision-making

    • Enabling - enables the dental team and individuals to work to their full potential in a variety of different settings

    • Being flexible - sets role boundaries while also adaptive to the ever-changing environment of dentistry

    • Futureproofing - supports the delivery of dentistry of the future.

The GDC has an open consultation on the future scope of practice; the consultation is open until 11 May and can be located on the GDC website.2 Please try to comment on the consultation, to have your say on the future of our scope of practice.

The next speaker was Miranda Steeples - the President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), who presented on 'Developing the Whole Oral Healthcare Team'.

We then broke into workshops - we were given two topics to discuss; these were the scope of practice consultation and developing the whole dental team.

We then heard a talk by Abhi Pal, President of the College of General Dentistry, who spoke on career development across the dental team.

The Dental Leadership Network will be meeting again on 6 July. BADN will be represented at this meeting and will feed back to you in due course.

I have recently had meetings with the presidents of the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) and with Miranda Steeples of BSDHT.

I am continuing to raise the recruitment and retention issues faced by our profession as well; this week I met with Yasmin Qureshi MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliament Group for Dentistry. I will be arranging a follow up meeting in the next couple of months.

I will be speaking on the BADN menopause policy at the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show (BDCDS) at the NEC in Birmingham in May. Please come along to the BADN stand and say hello to the team!