What have we achieved one year on?

As we approach the College’s first-year anniversary, CGDent President Dr Abhi Pal looks back at all that we have achieved and considers our exciting plans for the future.

On 1st July 2022 the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) will mark its first full year of operation since its formal launch, and I mark the conclusion of my first year as President. The transition from the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSEng) was five years in the planning and brought with it the hopes and aspirations for a whole profession. The transition period posed a number of challenges and I commend the hard work of the College staff and give thanks to the support of the College Council, our Trustee Board and our many members for helping to achieve a successful first year.

The first task for the College was the transfer of staff and the membership from the RCS, and automatic recognition of Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) membership, fellowship and all FGDP qualifications for the purposes of our own College membership and fellowship. I am pleased to say we have achieved this successfully, despite significant technological challenges.

In line with our inclusive approach to membership, the College now welcomes all members of the dental team with relevant postgraduate qualifications as members. The category of Associate Fellow has been created, designed to be a stepping-stone to Fellowship. We have also launched our criteria for Fellowship by Experience, designed to give recognition to individuals with experience who have demonstrated achievement in a wide range of areas. Membership has also been opened up to non-registrants with relevant qualifications, such as dental academics.

Membership of the College speaks to the professional development of individuals through post-nominals: Full Members (MCGDent), Associate Fellows (AssocFCGDent), and Fellows (FCGDent). In addition, we have expanded our package of membership benefits for all members. These include a discount arrangement with the UK’s largest indemnity provider, Dental Protection, which recognises the high level of commitment to professional development of College members and fellows. College membership also gives access to the wide range of online educational content provided by ProDental CPD. Indeed, the College has now hosted 20 live webinars so far on everything from leadership and professionalism to managing traumatic dental injuries, and from sustainable dentistry to how to get the best from your career. They’re all available for members to view free of charge via ProDental, which will also issue you with an electronic CPD certificate and keep a record of your learning.

The College continues to be the publisher of authoritative guidance and standards documents, originally published by the FGDP(UK), covering areas such as Clinical Examination and Record-keeping, Dental Radiography, Standards in Dentistry, Research in Primary Dental Care, and Training in Implant Dentistry. The College continues to publish Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice, which was developed with the FGDP, and has just released its first sole-published guideline, Mentoring in Implant Dentistry, which was developed with the Association of Dental Implantology and has been endorsed by the British Association of Oral Surgeons, Association of British Academic Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the UK and Ireland Section of the International Team for Implantology.

We continue to deliver high quality postgraduate training through our Postgraduate Diploma in Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry, Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Surgical Facial Aesthetics and our recently launched Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics which is delivered through IAS Academy.

The College has secured representation on over 25 committees and working groups across the UK developing national dental and oral health policy. Our College Council is now formed of 25 members from across the UK, as well as internationally. Most importantly we have representation on Council from not only dentists, but also dental nursing, dental hygiene, dental therapy, and dental technology.

The national makeup of the College is reflected in the work that is carried on by our regional groups. We have had very successful Study Days in Birmingham, Glasgow and Gateshead during our first year. The College Council will no longer meet exclusively in London but also in other UK cities from time to time, in order for the Council to engage with our local members.

At the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show in May, I was delighted to meet many members and prospective members of the College. The plans for our Career Pathway was met with great enthusiasm and we also obtained some very useful feedback. The College also provided Core CPD seminars from some of our notable speakers.

Over the past few months I have been invited to speak to groups of final year undergraduates from various UK dental schools about Transition to Practice. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage with our colleagues who will be the future of the profession to discuss career planning and the College’s role.

Earlier this month, we held the College’s first Fellows’ Reception at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in London where we unveiled our Professional Framework which will underpin the College’s Career Pathways.

Proud as I am of everything we’ve achieved so far, we can look forward with even more enthusiasm and anticipation to the next 12 months, during which many other projects and initiatives will come to fruition. These include the launch of the College’s Career Pathways and Certified Membership Scheme, designed to provide a long-needed pathway for professional development in primary dental care for all members of the dental team. We will be launching Phase One of the scheme in the autumn of 2022.

Publication of the second edition of our guidance on research for primary dental care professionals, and of our new Standards for Dental Photography, is anticipated in the forthcoming year. PDJ issues on oral surgery, digital dentistry, aesthetic dentistry, and dental trauma will be published. Upcoming live webinars include social inequalities and dental school applications, periodontal-systemic links, LGBTQ+ inclusion in dentistry, and many more.

Finally, I hope you will be able to join in some of our planned conferences over the next year. These include CGDent Study Days in Birmingham on 1 July and Glasgow on 2 December, 2022. We also have the first CGDent—Quintessence Publishing International Conference in London on 24–25 March, 2023.

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An Historic Event, the first Annual Members’ Meeting – were you there?

Following our first Annual Members’ Meeting on 11 March 2022, Chair of Trustees, Janet Clarke MBE FCGDent, shares the meeting highlights, including upcoming developments in membership and further exciting plans for the future.  

A new organisation will have many firsts – the first chief executive or the first mention in print for example, and the College of General Dentistry chalked up another first on Friday 11 March 2022 – the first Annual Members’ Meeting.

As we are in “just post-unprecedented” times, the meeting was held virtually, with members dialling in from around the UK. Online meetings have many faults, you miss the atmosphere and buzz, and the opportunity for a drink and a gossip afterwards. But a huge advantage of virtual meetings is that many people can attend without taking too much time away from their working day or their evening relaxation. This was the case with the Members’ meeting, which lasted almost exactly an hour and included plenty of time for questions. Attendees avoided the hazards, time and cost of travel and the College bank account avoided the expense of hiring a venue and associated costs. So, win-win perhaps? We would welcome your views on this, as on any other issue touched on in this blog.

So, what did we cover during that hour?

Simon Thornton-Wood, CGDent Chief Executive, chaired the meeting and welcomed members, encouraging them to ask questions either using the online chat function or by the old-fashioned method of raising their virtual hands. He introduced me, as Chair of the Board of Trustees and Abhi Pal as President of the College.

I took control of the slides (always a dangerous moment, I do like to be in control!) and started my presentation by looking back at the transfer of FGDP(UK) from the Royal College of Surgeons to our new College in the summer of 2021, and its establishment as an active College. Members might not have realised that the College has only three permanent, full-time employees and so operates very much as a start-up, where agility and flexibility are key strengths. The College is not just the old FGDP with a new title, it is a fundamentally different organisation, which is building on the many strengths of FGDP to support the whole range of dental registrants across the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland.

I discussed the role of the Board of Trustees, who are a mixture of registrants and lay members, in supporting the CEO to run the organisation, setting priorities (very important with such a small team) and ensuring financial viability. Much of our work has been around setting up the new body, focussing on the initiatives that will help build membership by providing the services and support that dental registrants need and deserve.

I shared photos of our soft launch in July 2021, noting the small number of key CGDent officials present at the event in order to support social distancing and then the formal launch in October 2021, which was a much more social occasion.

Abhi then took over and shared information about the new Council which he chairs as College President. He noted that it now includes a wider range of members, representing most registrant groups, and stressed the breadth of discussion that this facilitates. More socially-distanced photos were shown, but Abhi was delighted to note that the Council is now meeting face-to-face and is also meeting outside London, to emphasise his commitment to the pan-UK nature of the College. Meetings have been held in Birmingham and will be held in Cardiff and Glasgow during 2022.

He shared his enthusiasm for the new initiatives that he, together with Council, is taking forward this year. These included the work on the Career Pathways for all registrants, which has been led by working groups from each registrant group and is being prepared to launch in the summer. Questioned about the timing and the fact that the career pathway is hotly anticipated, he explained that a lot of work was going on behind the scenes to get it right and make it work smoothly, so that once launched it would be fit for purpose.

He went on to the describe the proposed Certified Membership scheme and the benefits that being a Certified Member would bring. Certified membership signifies a member’s commitment to continual development and includes working with a College facilitator, who will provide support and aid reflection. There was a lot of interest in the scheme from attendees and several questions about the role of facilitator and who could apply to become one. Questioning and comments drew out the fact that the important aspect is the skills of the facilitator rather than their registrant group, and Abhi asked those who might be interested in supporting the College and their professional colleagues to get in touch with him. Several keen members volunteered on the night!

We’ll publish more details about the new Certified Membership scheme, and how it can support your career, very soon.

Abhi also covered the work he has led to produce clear criteria and a roadmap to College Fellowship. This will open up Fellowship to more registrants who fulfil the criteria and this initiative is going live now.

Finally, Abhi reviewed the existing benefits for CGDent members including our highly-rated Journal, Primary Dental Journal, and the suite of exclusive and linked webinars produced with our partner ProDental CPD. He explained that the seminal set of Standards & Guidance that had been a hallmark of FGDP would continue to be available to all online, and the College is developing exclusive content on implementation and use of the standards in practice, which will be available for members only.

He finished by highlighting another first – the first International Conference for the whole dental team in partnership with Quintessence Publishing, which will take place 24–25 March 2023 in London – a date for your diary.

All in all, this was an exciting run through of the work the College has been doing and comments by email afterwards from members showed how welcome this was.

I concluded the meeting by thanking members for their time and their enthusiasm. I asked them, as I ask you now, to talk about the College to colleagues and encourage them to join up. It is a cliché I know, but together we really are stronger.

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New GDC Chair joins CGDent in celebrating launch

The new Chair of the General Dental Council (GDC) will make his first public address to the profession this week at an event celebrating the launch of the College of General Dentistry.

Lord Toby Harris, new GDC Chair

Lord Toby Harris, Baron Harris of Haringey, was appointed GDC Chair in July and took up office on 1 October, succeeding Dr William Moyes.

During his period of preparation for office, the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) completed its long-planned separation from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, transferring into the new College of General Dentistry (CGDent).

Lord Harris will be the keynote speaker on Thursday evening (21st October) at a reception marking the birth of CGDent, the formation of which has realised the ultimate ambition of the FGDP’s founding members to establish an independent college for general dental practice.

The College assumed the Faculty’s remit on 1 August, and as well as publishing its guidance and standards, has already launched two postgraduate qualifications, offers membership benefits which promote and reward professional development, and has announced that it is developing a professional framework and career pathways for the whole dental team.

Speaking ahead of the event, Lord Harris said:

“The creation of a dedicated College – for the whole dental team – is a significant moment and I am really pleased to join in celebrating this. The College of General Dentistry is an important partner for the GDC in supporting our role assuring education standards and ensuring patient safety and confidence in the professions.”

His keynote speech on Thursday, following an address by CGDent President Abhi Pal, will be broadcast live online from 6.45pm at:

https://vimeo.com/event/1396485/embed/019a40fc84

No prior registration is required.

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Realising the potential

President Emeritus, Professor Nairn Wilson FCGDent, welcomes members to the College of General Dentistry and reflects on the impact of the new College for the general dental profession.

Congratulations on your membership of the College. Please use your new postnominals -FCGDent for Fellows, AssocFCGDent for Associate Fellows and MCGDent for members, to help raise awareness of the College. Also, please encourage the members of your dental team, together with your friends, acquaintances and colleagues in dentistry to follow your good example and join the College. The more members, the sooner the College is going to be able to make application for a Royal Charter, establish faculties and schools and much more besides.

If only dentistry had had its own independent Royal College in years gone by, the standing and status of the profession, the importance of oral health to general health and wellbeing and the impact of dentistry, both NHS and private in healthcare provision would be in a much better place. The College, which is going from strength to strength, intends, amongst many other things, to address these issues and while it is at it, work on transforming public attitude to oral health and the value of lifelong, longitudinal dental care. I see the introduction of the College being akin to a tethered boxer suddenly having full use of both hands. The activation of the College changes the odds which, despite the commendable, ongoing work of the professional associations, have plagued dentistry for longer than anyone cares to remember.

When the College is firmly established as a Royal College of high national and international standing, oral healthcare professionals will look back and wonder how dentistry managed prior to 2021 – no unified voice for the whole profession, a mishmash of career arrangements, exclusion from critical, high level considerations of healthcare, and, most importantly dentistry being undervalued and poorly understood. Our successors, in looking back, will recognise and thank all those who got behind the formation of the College, specifically those listed in the College’s Roll of Honour. As a pioneer in the membership of the College, you too could be included in the Roll, if you are not already listed – a once in a lifetime opportunity to be immortalised in the early history of the College. All you have to do is contact me ([email protected]) and I will be delighted to guide you through the process.

In encouraging you to help fuel the College fire, and get behind our elected President, Abhi Pal, and the recently constituted College Council, the only way forward must be seen to be ‘up’. The College needs more than being timely, unique and forward thinking; it needs its members to be committed to its purpose and vision. Knowing many of the founding members of the College, hopefully including yourself, the College can be confident in going forward. No problem however difficult, no barrier however high, no disagreement however polarised should stop the College realising its transformational potential.

The future of the College and, in turn, dentistry, which I believe to be full of exciting opportunity, is in your hands, as members of the College. Get engaged, help recruit more members and together change things for the better – your College, your future, your call!

Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP UK) joins the College of General Dentistry

31 Jul 2021

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP UK) has today completed its separation from the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) to join the new College of General Dentistry, realising the ultimate ambition of its founding members to establish an independent college for general dental practice. 

At the start of its 25th anniversary year in 2017, the Faculty announced that it would begin preparing for independence. Today’s separation sees FGDP UK’s charitable functions transferred to the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) which was formally launched earlier this month (1July 2021).

RCS England has long supported dental surgeons, and is proud of its role in providing an academic home for general dental professionals for over 40 years. The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS), which remains at RCS England, first held an examination for general dental practitioners, the Membership in General Dental Surgery, in 1979.  

Since its establishment in 1992, FGDP UK’s mission has been to positively influence oral health through the education of the general dental professions and the provision of evidence-based guidance. The CGDent will now assume these responsibilities, and is grateful to RCS England for its role in establishing the FGDP, and for enabling it to grow and thrive in preparation for its eventual independence.  

FGDP UK and FDS have frequently collaborated, perhaps most notably in the delivery of the MJDF (Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties) examination, and the RCS England and CGDent are committed to continuing to work together going forward in the interests of the dental professions and the patients they serve. 

Commenting on the separation, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: 

“We wish our colleagues from FGDP very well as they embark on the exciting task of establishing the College of General Dentistry. Together, over the last 29 years, we have provided a professional home for general dental practitioners, and the FGDP been a positive force for improving the care provided to patients. I am left in no doubt that we will continue to work together in the future to build on this very important work.” 

Abhi Pal FCGDent, Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK, said: 

“Today sees the realisation of the vision of our founders to develop the FGDP towards the ultimate goal of independence, and I thank the Royal College of Surgeons of England for supporting our profession by hosting us for the last 30 years. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the thousands of colleagues without whose participation none of the Faculty’s achievements would have been possible. We are extremely grateful for the hundreds of thousands of hours given by so many over the years to running our regional divisions, supporting study groups, marking examinations, organising CPD days, drafting standards, developing curricula, serving on our boards and committees, peer reviewing papers and all our many other activities which ultimately benefit the general dental professions and our patients. I would also like to thank all our members for their support, and I look forward to continuing to serve you as President of CGDent.” 

Janet Clarke MBE FCGDent, Chair of the College of General Dentistry, said: 

“The transfer of the Faculty of General Dental Practice into the College of General Dentistry is a hugely significant moment, and I would like to welcome all transferring FGDP members to the UK’s first and long-awaited independent college for dentistry. We have already launched an enhanced set of membership benefits in preparation for your arrival, and look forward to engaging you as we seek to build on the work of the FGDP to develop guidance and career pathways for the whole dental team.”

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A new future opens for dentistry – historic CGDent launch

Today, 1st July, marks a momentous day in the history of dentistry in the UK as the College of General Dentistry officially opened in a ceremony at the Barber Surgeons Hall. Dentistry now has its own, independent College. The new College of General Dentistry embraces the whole dental team, recognising the invaluable contribution made by every member of the dental profession in delivering high quality oral health care for patients and the wider community.

(L to R:) Ian Mills, Immediate Past Dean, FGDP(UK); Janet Clarke MBE, Chair of Trustees of the College; Abhi Pal, President; Prof Nairn Wilson CBE, Honorary Founding President; Simon Thornton-Wood, Lead Executive.
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College of General Dentistry webinar

Recorded webinar. Thursday 27 May 2021.

Speakers explore the purposes and benefits of the new College of General Dentistry (CGDent), covering:

  • Why there is a need for a (Royal) College for Dentistry
  • Background & history of the FGDP(UK)
  • The challenges facing dentistry today – four perspectives
  • How a new College can address these challenges
  • Why dental professionals should join the College of General Dentistry
  • How to join the College of General Dentistry
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The College recruits for an Advisory Strategy Group to guide its development

The College of General Dentistry is recruiting an Advisory Strategy Group, seeking contributions from across the dental team. This is an important opportunity for people across the Registrant community to make an active contribution, guiding the future direction of the College. 

The Group will play a crucial role in advising the Board of Trustees as they make plans to launch the College. The Group’s 15 members, who will have first-hand experience working across the dental team, will provide much-needed insight into the ideas, perspectives and priorities of people working in dentistry. 

Chair of Trustees, Prof Nairn Wilson, said:  “This is an exciting moment for the College, a step closer to its formal launch, and a mark of our commitment to embrace the interests and contributions of the whole dental team. We believe that a lack of diversity in leadership and influence in dentistry is a barrier to effectiveness – and we want our Advisory Strategy Group to draw upon strengths across the many communities that have such an important role to play for the future.”

Applications close on August 21st, with interviews planned in early September. Details can be found at https://wp.me/P8ZZcL-tx