As we near the end of 2017, I feel it's a good time to reflect on my tenure as LDC Annual Conference Chair 2017, and on the LDC Officials' Day just past, as well as thinking about what lies ahead for the future of our profession.
For some time now, many of us 'more established' dentists have been aware that change needs to happen in terms of those who are willing to stand up and represent our profession. We want LDCs to be representative of the way dentistry is today, and that means we really need some younger dentists to step up and help us steer.
Who do we represent?
At LDC Conference 2017, we asked delegates to answer a survey, to find out who was attending and what their current role was – and what we found, is that whilst we have many engaged and committed members, we are lacking some younger blood.
Doom and gloom often abides, most of us are fed up with our treatment as professionals: by Government, by Area Teams, by the GDC, CQC and agencies like Capita, who seem to bent on making us wade through ever more paperwork, and jump through hoops, rather than letting us focus on what we do best: treating our patients.
The 2017 Conference motions reflected this, and our battle to stand up to the powers that be, will likely be a long one and not one we will win overnight. What concerns me, is that we cannot make change happen, if we work in silos.
Fighting amongst ourselves is not really productive, and ensuring we have voices that represent the entire profession, and not just a section that are the most-focused on running dental businesses, is I think, the key to our future.
I applaud the time and effort current LDC members put in, on working on their conference motions, and we think it's really important that the issues affecting you on the ground, are debated and discussed, before being submitted.
But, I really urge you to think about trying to involve young members of the profession in this too, what do your associates think, have you ever asked them? Have you encouraged them to come along to LDC meetings and supported them to give their views?
Start thinking about Conference motions now
Motions ideally are arguments for change with some sort of solution offered. An argument that the General Dental Practice Committee members can use to influence and inform the Department of Health or NHS England.
We all have our cross to bear, but real change, lies in working together, and showing we have a common purpose, evidence-based asks, and realistic solutions to the problems that exist.
At 2017 Conference, we decided that motions that are already GDPC policy should not be debated, but the LDCs who raised the motion should be acknowledged in the papers, so they know that their concerns are being listed too, and that the GDPC is already using their arguments. You should be aware what current GDPC policies are, but if you don't, take a look at some of our recent blogs related to GDPC's work.
A well-constructed Conference motion is that sparks debate and controversy, and this is what makes LDC conference sparkle.
Are you ready for 2018?
Belfast will be an exciting adventure, and Joe Hendron will be an outstanding Chair (good choice conference!).
Not sure what's in store? Watch our video from 2017:
Help us make it a great one, let us know what bugs you most and how we can work as LDCs to fix it – and if you are a younger dentist, please do consider standing up and being counted.
And I hope to see you in Belfast!
2017 LDC Conference Chair