LDC Conference 2017: Alisdair McKendrick on the future of dentistry

ldc-conference-alisdair-mckendrickjpgAlisdair McKendrick was elected Chair for LDC Conference 2017, he tells us a bit about his career to date, his hopes for the future generations of young dentist and the theme of this year’s LDC Conference.

Q: Tell us a bit about you?

I am a dental practitioner working in a mixed practice in Kettering, Northamptonshire, and qualified in 1982.

I am a fourth generation McKendrick who is a dentist. The dynasty began in the late 1800s, when my great-grandfather toured the Miners’ Fairs, set up his tent and offered extractions to the people.

My grandfather helped him, and was in the first year to be awarded the LDS from Edinburgh University.

Things were getting more sophisticated by this time, and the family had three practices in and around Tyneside, in the shadow of the Hearts football stadium.

My dad came along in 1933 and he met my mother at Edinburgh Dental Hospital; they both qualified and he went to do his national service in the RAF. Mum went into general practice working in Pinner.

They returned to Edinburgh and my father went into general practice with his own father, but he hated it! He studied oral surgery and then went on to become a lecturer in periodontology at Edinburgh University, and then Dundee University as soon as it was built. Mum moved into the community and worked in Monfeith, just outside Dundee. By then, I had arrived and went on to qualify from Edinburgh in 1982.

Q: What are your thoughts on the future of dentistry?

I want this year’s conference to re-awaken the love and look to the future – not for myself but for the youngsters coming into the profession.

I want more debate about the future of the NHS and regulation and professional standards, but no harping back or moaning, let’s try and come up with a plan of action and some concrete solutions.

I have adored being a dentist and have been very, lucky! But, like my friends, I am worried about the future of our profession.

I feel that we have lost the love that I, and my family have had for dentistry. I feel we are in danger of losing the confidence of our new young dentists, what is out there for them now? Nick Stolls’ speech at last year’s conference was one of the best I can ever remember and reminded me why I have loved my profession.

I want us to show the way – or at least shine a torch to highlight the path – to others coming into dentistry. I want everyone who gets to my stage in life in dentistry to be able to look back with pleasure and look forward with hope for the next generation.

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LDC Conference 2017

Local Dental Committees (LDCs) represent the profession locally. They discuss service configuration and commissioning, NHS management of service providers, practice staffing, workforce planning, dental education and regulations and regulatory changes, all of which have a local impact, often in different ways in different areas.

LDC Conference 2017 is taking place in Birmingham from 8-9 June at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. Booking will shortly be available online, for more information visit the LDC website.

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