.Janet Clarke MBE FCGDent, Chair of Trustees, reviews the College’s achievements over the last twelve months.
The transfer of FGDP to the College of General Dentistry in July and August of 2021 was not the end of a process, but just the beginning for the new organisation…
The first few months were dominated by the immense task for the small staff team, of building the necessary infrastructure to support our members and embark on the broader mission that we have set for ourselves. That work continued into 2022 – not just in building a College for the future, but re-thinking our role as an independent professional body, in the modern, post-pandemic world.
The most significant keystone for the College’s future will undoubtedly prove to be the Career Pathways that we have been developing in this time, culminating in the publication of the underpinning Professional Framework in June. So why is this quite so significant?
Dentistry, alongside so many other healthcare professions, faces immense challenges in attracting and retaining the talented people that will define the character of the profession for a generation, and inspiring the best from them. Yet dentistry in the UK faces a greater challenge than other healthcare professions, in lacking the structure and support of a national structure for progression, outside the Specialist Dentist pathway. Our Career Pathways provide a concrete, but adaptable framework, across the entire dental team, upon which we and others can now build the opportunities and recognition that dental professionals crave. It starts with College membership: we now have a clear point of reference for defining the ways in which your membership can reflect your capabilities and experience in dentistry.
Early this year (2023) we opened our Certified Membership scheme to a first group of candidates: a modern approach in supporting dental professionals to find their way and build a career in a fast-moving and confusing world. A chance to fully recognise their commitment and capability. It has been gratifying to see the immense level of interest in Certified Membership across so many organisations that are grappling with the workforce challenges we have been working to address, including regulators, policy makers, and dental corporates.
In April 2022, we launched our new Fellowship by experience, bringing new opportunity for highly accomplished dental practitioners, across our community, to be recognised. We have been delighted with the response, with a significant number submitting applications. The eligibility criteria are being further developed to embrace the great diversity of senior professionals. Feedback has been so positive: at last, we are told, their work can be properly acknowledged.
The College aims to build an authoritative community of leadership in dentistry, enabling the professional team to engage constructively with the challenges for all. In January, we hosted our first Fellows’ Winter Reception in Manchester, to complement the Summer Reception which has attracted an impressive group in the past two years. This is an inspiring occasion in itself; but important, too, in our ambitions to attract active support from those with the influence to make a positive difference in dentistry – harnessing their energy in a common cause. In the same vein, we also hosted our first meeting of the 1992 Circle in Manchester: nurturing the community of outstanding dental professionals in retirement, many of whom have so much more to give to support the profession that has been central to their lives. 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the foundation of FGDP, and the 1992 Circle celebrates that anniversary in its title, providing the opportunity to reflect on all that the Faculty achieved, and inspiring us in our continuing mission today.
CGDent is now the authoritative body for standards in dentistry, building on the highly respected work of FGDP and reflecting our commitment to setting standards, supporting careers. We continue to revise and update our standards to serve the profession, but also to extend into other areas where we see a need to support the profession. In 2022, we published our Implant Dentistry Mentoring Guidelines, and plan to do more in the arena of implant dentistry in 2023.
One of the major areas of interest for FGDP under Ian Mills’ leadership was diversity in the profession, and we have continued that work in CGDent. Most notably, we are pleased to host the Diversity in Dentistry Action Group, previously hosted by the CDO for England. We have hosted a number of important webinars on the subject, all of which are available to members online.
We have continued the FGDP partnership with Dental Protection to offer a significant discount for Full Members, Associate Fellows and Fellows – but now, with our wider remit, we are delighted that Dental Protection have been able to extend their offer to all dental professionals. All our work aims to address the needs of the whole team, and this is a welcome step in line with our overall philosophy and mission.
Twelve months after the opening of the College for business, we were pleased to publish a special issue of the Primary Dental Journal to mark our own special anniversary: a year since the activation of CGDent. The journal continues to thrive, with a number of notable issues in this past year. The number of high-quality articles submitted to the journal has also increased, as illustrated by the special back-to-back “general issues” that were published in 2022.
Your College depends on the support of its members. These are historic times, as we seek to fulfil the long-held ambition in dentistry for our own Royal College, but that goal cannot be achieved without a strong membership. Help us build that support – which translates into a richer offer for all members, greater authority in the profession generally, and ultimately better advocacy for our patients.
Your membership helps to secure our future: we must not let this opportunity pass us by.
Do tell friends and colleagues!
Sadly this will be my last blog as I stand down as Chair of Trustees at the end of March. I have very much enjoyed my time as Chair and am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. I am delighted to be handing over the role to Mick Horton, so I know the College’s Trustee Board is in safe hands!
You may be interested in Janet’s blog reviewing the College’s inaugural Annual Members’ Meeting in March 2022…