Where are all the dentists in Wales?

Arrows. Opposing concept.Katrina Clarke, Chair of the Wales General Dental Practice Committee puts out a call for dentists working in Wales to consider stepping forward and taking part in the BDA, either by taking part in the upcoming representative elections or by getting more involved locally, to help shape the future of the profession.

I had a bad dream last night. I was sitting in a meeting room on one side of a table on my own, but across the desk from me was the Chief Dental Officer for Wales and Public Health Wales, and they were asking me where all the dentists in Wales were.

I didn’t know what to say.

My career path was atypical, I was fortunate to own a practice a relatively young age (and as a female, in what was then still a very much male dominated area). But this wasn’t all plain sailing, I had to fight for it and I had to sacrifice for it, and that was my choice. And it made me realise that I had to get involved in local (and national) politics to help make a difference and so I have always been active, giving up my time and my energy for what I consider to be the greater good.

My call is for young dentists today to step up and take control of your future. Yes, I completely understand how tough life is for young dentists today, issues surrounding pay and career progression, the spiralling costs of indemnity and GDC fees, the difficulty of finding a practice that can offer you a flexible career and will invest in your future. I care about these things, and that’s why I sit on the Wales General Dental Practice Committee.

Our nation, in particular, faces many challenges in regards to oral health: kids teeth are amongst the worst in the UK, a frankly embarrassing fact, practice owners are struggling to recruit new associates, and clawback by Health Boards is getting significantly worse every year, resulting in reduced access to NHS treatment.

The BDA is a representative organisation, it’s there for you, but it only works, if you are part of it. We can only help you make your career path better, if you get engaged.

And it’s not just about paying the annual subscription fee, it’s about telling us what your fears and hopes are, expressing your frustrations, showing us how you think it can be better, taking part.

There are many ways to take part. Stepping up and being on our committees and councils are just one way. You don’t have to be a member to do this, we want to hear everyone’s views – although we hope that once you see how much effort and passion other colleagues put in, you’ll want to sign up, and be proud to be a member. If you want to know more about what roles are available and what you’d need to do, please email and I’d be happy to have an informal chat to you.

You could also get more involved at the local level: have you been along to your local branch and section meeting lately, or gone to a Local Dental Committee meeting? Try and it and you’ll find out what you’ve been missing.

It has to be about more than self-interest, dentists by nature are often ambitious and competitive, and that’s a good thing – but we also need to work together, to make things better for our own working lives, and for those who will be the future of our profession.

We are particularly keen to get younger dentists on board too. In Wales, many of our committee representatives are now retiring and we need new blood to help steer the course of dentistry.

Puzzlingly, BDA representative structures tend to be under-represented in terms of the gender balance too, we need more women to help ensure we are truly representative, there are now a greater number of female dentists working amongst the under 44 year olds across the UK. We need to hear from you.

Please come and join us and together, we can start to make a real difference.

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Katrina Clarke, Chair, Wales General Dental Practice Committee

 

BDA elections 2017

BDA elections are gearing up for September 2017 – this year, all of the seats on our current Committees and Councils are up for election.

We need dentists from all fields of practice and at all stages of their careers to stand up and help us represent the diversity of dentistry across the UK.

We are seeking early expressions of interest from dentists, especially those who may not have sat on a BDA Committee before, if you’d like to know more, please get in touch with our elections team for an informal chat about how the process works and what you need to do to stand.

 

 

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NHS dentistry in Wales: Where does the clawback money go?

The BDA needs you! Elections 2017

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Why don’t you consider dentistry? Women in dentistry then and now

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