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Northern Ireland: Connecting at CDS Study days

Blog Author Ruth Early

Blog Date 19/04/2023

​The CDS Group, Northern Ireland Division, hosted their Annual Study Day on 23 March. 


The event was tailored to Community Dentists and covered a wide range of topics, from the treatment of diabetic and bariatric patients to highlighting available restorative dental materials.

The event received exceedingly positive feedback, with almost 50% of CDS Northern Ireland dentists attending, great speakers providing five hours of verifiable CPD training, and the CDS National President, Josie Lemon, in attendance.

The importance of CDS Study Days

"These events are the perfect setting for Community Dentists to connect and network with colleagues."
As a small community, the Northern Ireland CDS Division can feel quite detached, so we’re delighted to be bringing back face-to-face events following the pandemic. 

These events are the perfect setting for Community Dentists to connect and network with colleagues. It’s vital for our community to have the opportunity to discuss employment issues, share different ways of working across Trusts and the current challenges facing the CDS. In today’s climate it’s important to know that you are not alone.

Even as part of the CDS Management Committee, being able to take a day out of clinic to participate in a study day can be challenging. It’s why we aim to tailor our CDS Study Days towards advancing our attendees’ CPD training by providing a wide range of relevant topics and hands-on activities, to ensure real value in attending.

There are variations when it comes to Trusts allowing staff to attend. Especially at a time where the profession struggles with being able to cover the clinics due to staff sickness, people on leave or career breaks and very little available as succession planning for those about to retire, with younger people mainly working part-time.

We understand that taking time away from your clinic has become increasingly difficult, therefore we have reduced the number of face-to-face events from two per year to one all-day event.

Moving forward

I have been part of the South Eastern Trust for more than 19 years, and have served at least 15 years as part of the CDS Management Committee. I’d only been on the committee for a year when they asked me to become Chair.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to hold this position and I have loved my time on the committee. It has allowed me to create close personal relationships and contribute to our profession in a meaningful way.
Planning the Study Days has been a great opportunity - I was able to contribute to my colleagues’ CPD development and give them a space to connect and network, which, after Covid, felt even more meaningful.  

My position as Chair has focused on organising the events, ensuring they operate smoothly and addressing my peers. It was a job not many wanted, and I was happy to take it on. I must give an awful lot of credit to our brilliant secretaries and treasurers; they have been great support the whole way through. 

While I have loved my work as Chair of the CDS Management Committee (NI Division), I believe it is time for me to step down from one of my many responsibilities, as part of the Northern Ireland Community Dentists Committee and Accredited Reps. This is the perfect time for others to step forward.

I am very proud of the work we’ve done mainly that we manged to keep CPD training sustained for our CDS group. It can be difficult to find CPD training specifically tailored towards Community Dentistry. While the general topics are exceptional, keeping the Study Days tailored to our staff has been a great victory for me.
We have aimed to create a beneficial environment, both for those attending and for the specialists who had the opportunity to share their expertise. We’ve done great work and all I wish for is for people to think of it in a positive way once I step down.

The Management Committee succession plan is uncertain, with a new member joining from the Belfast Trust, our secretary extending her career break and the treasurer set to leave for maternity leave soon. However, we have found our next Chair in the Clinical Director from the South Eastern Trust, Karen Maxwell, who is set to take over for a year.

Becoming a BDA member

Being a BDA member is a great opportunity. It provides access to our extensive range of expert advice and allows you to engage with and become part of both Northern Ireland Community Dentists Committee and the CDS Management Committee (NI Division).

As your trade union, we support members through every step of the professional journey, providing entry to your local and national network of peers to help you along the way. 

We have over 166 hours of verifiable CPD per year available to members through our recently upgraded CPD hub. You can also access the BDJ portfolio and Europe’s largest dental library. 

If you are interested in becoming a member you can find out more on our website or call us to join over the phone. Together we are stronger.


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Ruth Early
Former Chair of the CDS Management Committee (NI Division)