On 20 April 2018, FGDP(UK) held an interactive workshop for Fellows, Members and Associates in Birmingham entitled ‘Emerging leaders in a new age for dentistry: from Faculty to College’. Scheduled to coincide with the Faculty’s Annual General Meeting the event gave an opportunity to engage with the leadership team taking forward the Faculty’s plans to develop a new College, incorporated under Royal Charter.
The day was divided into three interactive sessions including an initial debate on the leadership challenge in general dentistry, chaired by Sami Stagnell. The panel for the debate comprised of Sophie Ainley, Paul Batchelor, Ian Mills and Bruce Hogan. The discussion highlighted the growing opportunity to encourage role models and mentors within the profession to help support new dentists and encourage best practice. Dentistry was recognised as being fundamentally different from other aspects of healthcare, with the mix of NHS and private provision and many dental professionals working in comparative isolation. The panel agreed the new College for General Dentistry should play an active part in career pathway development and support including offering opportunities for established professionals to become mentors as well as young professionals to network, learn and grow. The excellent study groups formed in Scotland and other areas of the country were highlighted as great examples of this in practice.
The second session was introduced by Paul Batchelor and posed a question around shaping leadership within the college community. With continuing changes the College will have the opportunity to play a role in knowledge, education and leadership of the profession to dental team members but also the Government and general public. Future opportunities include the need to establish standards for complex needs of the ageing population with mixed dentition. It was agreed that through the Fellowship programme the College has an opportunity to share knowledge and help develop leaders.
The Annual General Meeting was then conducted with Mick Horton delivering his final Dean’s address. The address acknowledged the ongoing process of application for the new College which will continue across the next few months.
The final session of the day focused on the reestablishment of the South East and South West Thames regional network to highlight the opportunities for members of the Faculty. This session was led by Risha Patel and Roshni Karia both of whom joined the FGDP(UK) as Early Careers Representatives. The role of the Faculty and future College was highlighted again to be in supporting general dental practitioners with the continuation of career development in a supportive environment. Regional divisions within the Faculty allow the chance to incorporate local conditions in that development.
Dr Mick Horton, Dean of FGDP(UK) said:
“Today was an important opportunity for our Members, Associates and Fellows to express their views on leadership within the new College to ensure that we continue to benefit the dental team. We appreciate the huge wealth of skills and experience within our profession and we have an opportunity to facilitate an environment where all general dental practitioners can develop along their career pathway. As we progress to form the new College we will continue to reach out to seek the views of the profession and wider stakeholders.”
Delegate feedback for the event has been very positive and has reflected the support amongst members for the next step in the life of the Faculty. Those present took an active part in the day and supported some very productive discussions.