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Do younger dentists see the value in getting politically engaged? The view from LDCs

Blog Author Leah Farrell

Blog Date 09/10/2019

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The feedback from our recent survey asking LDCs if and how they are working to engage with younger members was very encouraging. Of those who responded, 77% said between 1-5 of their members were within 12 years of qualification. 

When asked how likely you thought it would be to be able to get more young members over the next year, the views were mixed, 32% said they felt it was ‘unlikely’, but 38% said you thought it was ‘likely’.

For those who felt less positive, issues raised were less younger dentists moving into the area, and younger dentists saying family commitments prevented them from getting involved. Short-term contracts with corporates meant some younger dentists weren’t staying in one location for long, or that they just didn’t see the value in taking part. 

Those who were more positive have been working to co-opt younger dentists onto their committees and have seen some enthusiastic engagement. 

LDC Conference in 2019 passed a motion to amend the LDC constitution to encourage younger dentists to be co-opted onto Committees, allowing them to get more involved, without the long process of garnering votes. 

Thirty-four per cent of you said you have already amended your constitutions to enable this, which is really welcome news. Some also said you already invite younger members to meetings, and some have already co-opted people, regardless of age, and some LDCs are in discussions over changing their constitution.

Changing our culture is part of moving forward. It’s not always easy, but we really need to think about how we act and operate in order to be able to keep moving forward. 

We also asked you what we as the LDC Agenda Committee, and the BDA, could do to help support you getting younger members on board. 

There seems to be a real issue in being able to target and contact younger dentists. You also have some concerns about the visibility of LDCs amongst younger dentists and the difficulties in being able to get in touch with them in your local areas. 

We will speak to the BDA about ensuring dental students and foundation dentists and vocational trainees are aware of the political structures in dentistry, and the value and opportunities of getting engaged in these at the early stages of their careers, and how they can do this. 

To help promote some of the work being done out there, we also asked if you’d like to provide a case study of how you are engaging younger members, the successes and the challenges, and many of you did, so thanks to all those that put themselves forward - we will be in touch with you soon.

I’d also like to thank all those who took the time to respond to our survey . Your answers are key in helping us build our capacity amongst the future of our profession, and we will continue to work with you, to make our aspirations of ensuring young members see the value in getting politically-engaged, a reality.

Leah Farrell, LDC Conference Chair

Getting involved in the work of LDCs

Are you a primary care dentist interested in helping to represent colleagues at a local level?

 

Get in touch with your local LDC Secretary or the BDA for more information?