The College has endorsed the menopause policy and advice recently published by the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN).
In the UK, 99% of dental nurses, 96% of orthodontic therapists, 94% of dental hygienists, 92% of dental therapists, 52% of dentists and 27% of dental technicians are female – 78% of the regulated dental profession as a whole – and the policy outlines the challenges faced by menopausal women in the workplace and suggests ways in which employers can support menopausal employees.
The Association is asking dental practices, laboratories and clinics to adopt the policy and implement it in their workplace, and is asking dental organisations to support it by encouraging its widespread adoption.
The College of General Dentistry, membership of which is open to all dental and oral health professionals, is the first organisation representing dentists to do so. The College is the independent professional body into which the Faculty of General Dental Practice transferred last year, and is the UK’s only medical college run by and for oral health professionals.
Abhi Pal, President of the College of General Dentistry, said:
“The BADN’s Menopause Policy is important, practical and succinct advice which helps dental professionals to better understand the menopause, to appreciate relevant employment law, and to implement a menopause policy in their practice.
Making appropriate adjustments for staff affected by the menopause is both a moral duty enabling committed and experienced colleagues to remain in valuable employment, and a legal duty not to discriminate on the grounds of gender, age or disability. Supportive dental practices and understanding employers will also find they benefit in return from improved staff retention and reduced sickness absence.
On behalf of the College, I congratulate the BADN on its publication, and am pleased to endorse it.”
The policy is also supported by the British Society of Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT), the British Dental Industry Association (BDIA), the Dental Laboratories Association (DLA), the Dental Technologists’ Association (DTA), the Orthodontic National Group (ONG), and the British Veterinary Nurses’ Association (BVNA).
The publication is available on the BADN website here.
The College has announced that it will be launching its much-anticipated Professional Framework next month.
Guests celebrating the launch of the College at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall, where the Professional Framework will be launched next month at the Fellows’ Summer Reception
The Professional Framework will describe the knowledge, skills and other attributes that primary care dentists and other dental professionals may aspire to at different stages of their career, and underpins the College’s Career Pathways programme. An initial framework published last year identifies five domains:
Clinical and technical: the capability to diagnose, to advise and to treat
Professionalism: the conduct and behaviour to engage patient trust and confidence
Reflection: awareness of personal impact, abilities and limitations
Development: commitment and capability to improve the service to patients
Agency: the ability to resolve solutions independently and through others
The creation of career pathways for general dental practice was a key founding purpose of the College, which has been developing sets of progressive steps for each dental team role in order to provide purpose and direction for dental careers, to enhance professional standing, and to help retain and nurture a motivated workforce.
The Professional Framework will be launched at the inaugural Fellows’ Summer Reception, which takes place on Wednesday 15 June at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in London. It will be preceded by the conferral of Fellowships, President’s Commendations and the prestigious College Medal, and will take place in front of around a hundred guests.
Fellows and Associate Fellows of the College, as well as FGDP Fellows who were unable to enjoy formal conferral of their fellowship during 2020-21 due to coronavirus restrictions, are eligible to attend. Tickets are £20, to include wine and canapés, and a small number of spaces remain.
Dental Hygienist, Frances Robinson AssocFCGDent, has recently completed the Clinical Oral Health Transformation Fellowship with HEE. As the first ever dental care professional in any clinical fellowship role, Frances explains what was involved.
A fellowship is a position, often combined with clinical work, that focuses on the learning and development of the individual taking part. Fellowship roles in the healthcare profession aim to expand opportunities for aspiring leaders; helping them gain the necessary experience and skills for future system leadership roles. As such, there are a range of opportunities to be involved with projects and programmes and to work in settings outside a clinician’s normal exposure. There can be specific goals of writing, submitting, and publishing papers, attending meetings and conferences, and working on particular projects, as well as networking. The balance of these is dependent on the host organisation.
I have just completed a one-year position with Health Education England (HEE) as their Clinical Oral Health Transformation Fellow. HEE’s purpose is to support the delivery of excellent healthcare to patients, by ensuring that the workforce has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours. Thus, the areas I worked on related to the development of the oral health work force.
I was the first dental care professional (DCP) to be awarded the clinical fellowship, these roles are typically fulfilled by a dentist. I am extremely grateful for this innovative appointment both for my personal development and the development of my career, but also for other DCP colleagues, for now it has opened up new realms of opportunities for us to progress in system roles.
I applied for the role because of the potential to gain experience working in the public health sector, whilst allowing me to work clinically at the same time. Having completed a Masters in Dental Public Health in 2017 – spurred on by my interests in health inequalities research – I felt this position would be an excellent opportunity for me to develop my career.
During a fellowship there is flexibility to align the projects undertaken to individual interests, whilst working for the greater aims of an organisation. This means there is a real opportunity to tailor a role to where there is the most personal or organisational benefit. My aims for the year working with HEE were to work on projects that I’m interested in, for example oral health inequalities, oral health empowerment and promotion, increase my skill mix and exposure to multidisciplinary team working in primary care, as well and develop opportunities for leadership and management for all members of the dental team.
I am currently writing up multiple papers to be published; one evaluates the success of a pilot that aimed to reduce the number of paediatric patients sent to secondary care for dental extractions under general anaesthetic. A subsequent paper will evaluate the success of the “return to work” therapy scheme, a programme aimed at supporting Dental Therapists who have not been using their full scope of practice, back into therapy work by providing them with training opportunities, supervisor support and a practice placement. I will also be helping to write a concept paper for a Dental Hygiene postgraduate training programme.
During my time with HEE, I have had the chance to sit on various working groups like a “Managed Clinical Network” and interact with external organisations such as Public Health England, academic institutions, professional societies and local councils.
A clinical fellow may also have the opportunity to attend courses and gain qualifications that are not linked to their clinical work; I was selected to complete an Institute of Leadership and Management, level 7 qualification through HEE. I received three days of training with UMD Professional and then completed a research element which involved interviewing my colleagues at the HEE dental office.
Furthermore, I am currently completing a “Becoming an Expert Educator in the Healthcare Professions” course with the University of Nottingham. These additional skills and qualifications are important for demonstrating tangible outcomes from the year.
It has sometimes been a trying year due to the pandemic – working from home during a fellowship has meant less interaction with colleagues and difficulty integrating into an office very different from a clinical setting. Natural communication with colleagues is often stilted when working virtually. I subsequently created ice breakers for meetings with my peers to stimulate organic conversation!
There are other fellows across the country with HEE and in other organisations for example with the Chief Dental Officer, General Dental Council, Care Quality Commission and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I). We have a clinical fellow networking group where collaborations across work streams can be facilitated and a journal club takes place. This has given me the chance to network with new professionals across medicine and dentistry which has been really enjoyable! The fellows try to see each other in person despite being spread out across the country– the most recent of which was at the BDIA Dental Showcase at ExCel London.
As I was the first fellow at Health Education England to be a DCP I was – and still am – in a unique position to be an advocate for DCPs, working hard to make our voices heard across a variety of settings. I was asked to do a presentation at the BDIA conference on workforce and skill mix. I focused on the skill mix in our systems, policy, planning, commissioning, leadership and management. I am passionate about DCP representation in all of these areas as I truly believe that if we are represented throughout the system we will have a more empowered workforce. If you’re interested in taking up a Fellowship position, keep an eye on NHS jobs, HEE jobs, FMLM for dentists and your professional society pages.
The College of General Dentistry has a unique structure with exciting opportunities to create connections between different dental professionals against an academic backdrop. There are no other organisations in the industry now that represents all dental registrants in this way. The careers pathway programme will be able to support individuals navigating their fields; there will be guidance, support networks and mentors available to enhance learning and progression. I personally am very excited to have a structure in which to work, with industry recognition of the level attained. I know that many DCPs have much to offer the wider industry with postgraduate qualifications and extensive experience in many areas, as well as evidence of enhanced learning. The College will enable these efforts to be verified through a framework where all dental professional are assessed equally. This certainly is an exciting time for us all.
The College of General Dentistry has broadened its eligibility criteria for membership, enabling suitably qualified non-registrants to join, and offering practitioners with relevant non-dental qualifications the ability to progress to higher grades of membership.
Registration with the General Dental Council or an equivalent overseas authority is normally required for entry as an Associate Member. However former registrants, and those who hold a relevant qualification but may not be required to register with the GDC due to their job role – such as dental academics – are now eligible to join.
Those wishing to join as Full Members (MCGDent), or upgrade to Full Membership, have until now been required, in addition to meeting the requirements for Associate Membership, to hold either the DGDP, MJDF, MFGDP(UK), MFDS or a Postgraduate Certificate level qualification in a ‘relevant dental subject’. However Full Membership is now also open to those whose qualification is in a ‘subject relevant to the enhancement of oral healthcare’.
Those wishing to join at, or upgrade to, Associate Fellowship (AssocFCGDent), have up to this point needed to hold the MGDS, a Specialty Membership of a UK dental faculty, or a Postgraduate Diploma level or Masters level qualification in a dental subject. However, this recently-instituted membership grade, which offers a stepping stone to Fellowship, is similarly now available to those whose qualification is relevant to oral heath rather than being strictly ‘dental’ in scope.
Individuals qualifying under these extended criteria would then be eligible to apply for Fellowship (FCGDent) on the same basis as all other members of the College. This is currently open to existing Fellows of a UK Royal College or overseas equivalent, with a Fellowship by Experience route expected to be announced soon.
The changes are further to earlier departures from the eligibility criteria of the former Faculty of General Dental Practice, from which the College evolved – most notably the ability of Dental Hygienists, Dental Therapists, Dental Nurses, Dental Technicians and Clinical Dental Technicians to apply for membership at all grades, and for Practice Managers and other non-clinical members of the dental team to join as Affiliate Members.
“Among the key aims behind the establishment of The College of General Dentistry were the promotion of both dental and oral health, and to create a new type of college, breaking down barriers which are unnecessarily prescriptive and exclusionary, and replacing them with an inclusive approach fit for the 21st century.
“We are implementing this step by step, and are already a College open to all members of the dental team, formed of practitioners across the UK and beyond, and bridging the NHS/private divide.
“These latest changes offer recognition to a wide range of individuals and professional roles whose contribution to the advancement of general dental practice and oral healthcare is hugely significant, and we look forward to welcoming them into membership, and to bringing their significant knowledge, expertise and experience to bear in the fulfilment of our mission.”
Elections will soon be held for seven seats on the Council of the College of General Dentistry, and eligible members are encouraged to consider standing.
The Council is elected by College members to provide leadership and support for the dental professions, and to guide the College Trustees in fulfilling the College’s mission.
It includes representation based both on geographical region and professional role.
Members of the Council serve three-year terms, and elections will shortly take place for the following seats:
Yorkshire and Northern
Wessex & Oxford
East of Scotland
West & North of Scotland
Those elected would be expected to serve from June 2022 – June 2025, and would then be able to stand for re-election. Further seats will be due for election in 2023 and 2024.
Council members are expected to attend three face-to-face meetings each year, which normally take place on a Friday morning in June, October and February, as well as regular online meetings outside of business hours. Those elected this year will be formally inducted at the Council meeting on Friday 24 June in Cardiff.
Members of the Council may serve up to three elected terms (i.e. nine years), and are eligible to stand in the annual election of two Vice Presidents, and the triennial election of a College President.
All Full Members, Associate Fellows and Fellows of the College, regardless of their dental team role, are eligible to nominate themselves as candidates for election to Council.
Candidates for regional seats must live or work within that region, and be registered with that region with CGDent.
Candidates for the National seat must live or work in the UK, and have a registered UK address with CGDent.
Candidates for the Overseas seat must practice dentistry wholly outside the UK, and have a registered overseas address with CGDent.
Associate Members wishing to nominate themselves for election will need to have successfully completed an upgrade to Full Membership before submitting an application.
An online application process, accompanied by a full description of the role, will be published no later than Friday 18 March 2022, and the deadline for submission of applications will be no earlier than Friday 15 April.
A full election timetable will be published in due course; please return to this page over the coming weeks for updates.
The CGDent UK regions map (above) can be downloaded here. Prospective candidates unsure of their CGDent region should contact us here.
The College of General Dentistry and British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) are warning of a potential catastrophe for dental patients if the planned implementation of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all patient-facing staff in England is not deferred.
Regulations came into effect earlier this month that will make it unlawful from 1 April 2022 for a CQC-regulated employer to deploy staff who are not fully vaccinated to work face-to-face with patients. The rules, which will apply to NHS and private providers alike, will effectively force dental practices to dismiss staff who have not received their first dose of an approved coronavirus vaccine by 3 February, and second dose by 31 March, unless they are clinically exempt, under 18, taking part in a COVID vaccine trial or can be redeployed into a non-patient-facing role.
Both the College and BADN are unequivocal in their encouragement of dental professionals to take up the offer of coronavirus vaccination. However, interim results from the BADN COVID Vaccination Survey, based on the responses of over 1,000 practising dental nurses to date, show that 26% have not yet received two vaccination doses, and 24% will not have been double-vaccinated by the deadline.
Responses to date are similar for both members and non-members of the association. If the findings are representative of the dental nursing profession as a whole – which makes up half the dental workforce – this would suggest an impending reduction in available dental staff in England of up to 12,000, or 12%, plus any dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, clinical dental technicians or orthodontic therapists who may not be double-vaccinated.
The survey also found that 32% of respondents so far said they do not intend to take up the offer of a ‘booster’ dose, suggesting that staffing problems will only increase if the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is later amended to require three doses.
Dr Abhi Pal, President of the College of General Dentistry, and Jacqui Elsden, President of the British Association of Dental Nurses and an Associate Member of the College, said:
“Dental nurses are a vital part of the team without whom dental care cannot be delivered, and the BADN’s data will only strengthen existing concerns in practices across the country.
“Tens of millions of dental appointments have been missed during the pandemic, but while welcome additional funding has just been announced by NHS England to help tackle the backlog during February and March, losing up to a quarter of dental nurses from 1 April would lead to a precipitous reduction in care provision, quickly reversing any progress made and leaving millions of dental patients once again unable to get the treatment they need. We urge the government to defer implementation of the vaccination requirement for dental employers in order to avert a calamitous own goal.”
Free for all dental professionals to watch live, speakers include Professor Jason Leitch, (Senior Clinical Advisor to the Scottish Government, CGDent Ambassador and regular explainer of all matters COVID in the broadcast media), and Sarah Buxton (HR and Employment Solicitor and legal advisor to the Association of Dental Administrators and Managers and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy). Register here
In conjunction with the Central Sterilising Club, this webinar examines how we can promote sustainability in dentistry and healthcare, addressing issues such as disposable single use items and the efficacy of decontamination and reuse on site. The current disposal of items across healthcare is not sustainable and we need to change our practices to ensure that reuse and reduce are the principles to reduce waste. Yet, there are other considerations including infection control, the ongoing risk to patients as well procurement and transport to and from our places of work.
This webinar sets out to investigate the effect of healthcare on climate change and how nurses can adopt more sustainable nursing practices. We examine how improving sustainability through reusable PPE can reduce the pressure and costs on the NHS and improve the planet, and consider how embedding sustainability within a dental practice can support and advocate change in dentistry.
John Prendergast, Senior Decontamination Engineer at NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership/Specialist Estates Services
Ian Mills FCGDent, former Dean FGDP(UK) and a Trustee of CGDent
Abhi Pal FCGDent, President of CGDent
Rose Gallagher MBE, Professional Lead Infection Prevention and Control at Royal College of Nursing
Alexis Percival, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Brett Duane, Associate Professor in Dental Public Health, Trinity College, Dublin
Dr Jimmy Walker, Independent Microbiological and Decontamination Consultant
Membership of the College of General Dentistry is open to all registered dental professionals. Membership for dentists is available from £94, and for other registered dental professionals from £33. The full list of CGDent membership rates is at https://cgdent.uk/membership-fees/.
London-based Dental Hygienist, Frances Robinson AssocFCGDent, has volunteered overseas for several years, providing oral health care in communities where it is much needed. Here she shares some of her experiences and offers advice for anyone interested in getting involved.
It might not be everyone’s idea of “time off”, but I’ve never spoken to anyone who regretted the volunteering they’ve done, whether giving a talk on good oral hygiene in a school assembly or an extended trip abroad with an overseas charity.
As highly trained dental professionals, there are so many ways we can give back to both our local communities and the wider global community. We have a huge skill set that prepares us for volunteering, even without using our clinical skills. Communication, professionalism, working in a fast paced, ever-changing environment, are all key skills needed for working in outreach settings, with dental charities and in overseas communities. Furthermore, dental professionals are registered health professionals with moral standards to uphold and appropriate safeguarding certifications – all conducive to humanitarian work.
Clinical skills are a recognisable asset for any volunteer within the health sector. Dental professionals can offer their skills as part of an emergency relief campaign: in humanitarian crisis; in conflict zones; after natural disasters; or in refugee settings. Overseas volunteers are often needed to increase the capacity of local health facilities, as well as training and up-skilling local health workers.
I have volunteered with dental charities in the UK and abroad for several years and have gained much as a dental professional. I was newly graduated when I first volunteered which really threw me in at the deep end, but my experiences helped me become a more prepared, flexible and innovative clinician, as well as being a more culturally-aware team member.
I first volunteered for Dentaid in 2016 when Itravelled with the charity to Nepal, and then later to Cambodia in 2017. Dentaid has worked in more than 70 countries providing safe dental treatment in poor and remote communities. They support dentists around the world by providing equipment, running oral health programmes and sending teams of volunteer dental professionals to help reach more patients and support local charities.
I had only been qualified a year when I took part in Dentaid’s inaugural trip to Nepal. In some areas we were able to help communities with much needed extractions for patients who were in pain and simple restorations and fluoride applications for those we could. We used very simple equipment, often with no reliable electricity, sometimes working outside.
On one of our clinical days, we travelled by bus for three hours, then in a 4×4 for two hours and finally walked for one hour to set up a clinic in a remote school in the foothills of the Himalayas. I was shocked having travelled so far to see the children consuming excessive amounts of sugary drinks and sweets. The subsequent decay rates were astronomical. We set up preventative dental clinics in the rural schools on classroom chairs and tables. I came across a similar situation when I took the opportunity to travel with Dentaid to Cambodia. These transformative experiences became a catalyst for me to go on to study a Masters in Dental Public Health.
At the start of the pandemic, I began volunteering in fundraising and logistics for dental charity Dental Mavericks, who work in Lebanon, Morocco and Greece. In September 2021, I travelled to Greece as the first Dental Maverick to support a new partner charity to help support the dental clinic with dental volunteers in the Kara Tepe 2 refugee camp in Lesvos. I worked clinically, seeing my own patients and assisting other dental professionals. I also helped the charity’s founder and the clinical coordinators devise more effective data collection methods, restructuring their research to better attract funders, new clinicians and other support.
Dental Mavericks focuses on promoting oral hygiene education and practice, making dental care accessible to vulnerable populations, including refugees. Their priority is to address the root causes of dental disease and take people out of dental pain. They provide emergency appointments, routine and preventative dentistry. They are hoping to help the Greek charity they support to expand the preventative aspect in the future. I am currently leading on a collaboration between Dental Mavericks and the British Association of Dental Nurses to support humanitarian workforce training.
Working abroad is an amazing way to see areas of the world that you wouldn’t otherwise visit. Interaction with patients that may have travelled many hours to see you is humbling in a way that is indescribable. But there are also many other ways that dental professionals can volunteer their time and skills. If you’re considering volunteering, it’s advisable to carefully consider how much time you are willing to give and what type of work you want to do, before committing to any voluntary opportunities.
Children and young people
Connecting with a local school to give assemblies and classes on toothbrushing and dietary advice may be a suitable option and can tie in with a preventative dentistry programme. Toothbrushing programmes in early years settings are recommended by NICE (1) and PHE (2); the effectiveness of these programmes for reducing tooth decay in early years settings and schools has been well established. There is scope for dental professionals to support their local settings with the set up and provision of these schemes. Designed to Smile in Wales and Child Smile in Scotland have been implemented with much success.
A critical but often overlooked area of volunteering is supporting older people. Care home residents suffer a disproportionate amount of dental decay. Evidence shows significant differences between ‘institutionalised’ and community dwelling older people, with those in care having fewer teeth and significantly higher levels of dental decay (3), which has ramifications for an individual’s systemic health. Dental practices could consider collaborating with their local care home by helping to provide triaging advice for carers and oral hygiene advice for staff.
There are many ways a dental professional can volunteer with an organised charity too. As well as providing dental care in remote communities abroad, the dental charity Dentaid runs clinics out of its mobile units all over England. They focus on vulnerable communities, for example the homeless, refugees living in the UK, residents in socially deprived areas and those unable to access care.
Another avenue for dental professionals seeking opportunities to volunteer is to reach out to non-dental-specific charities like homeless charities or charities for specific health conditions, and offer to help up-skill carers or other volunteers in dental health and hygiene.
There are many organised groups that offer voluntary opportunities overseas. It’s important to conduct thorough research into an organisation before committing to them. They should provide help that is culturally relevant, includes the local community, is empowering for its beneficiaries and looks to build a sustainable local workforce, where possible.
As well as Dentaid and Dental Mavericks that I have already referred to, other organisations that provide dental support overseas include Mercy Ships and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Mercy ships is a faith-based international development organisation that deploys hospital ships to some of the poorest countries in the world, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need. They accept all members of the dental team and can focus on more complex treatments due to their on-board facilities.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. This well-known organisation welcomes clinicians from most healthcare areas but has larger focus on medical care and sanitation.
If I could give any advice to dental professionals wanting to volunteer, it would be to do a little bit of research before you decide on what you want to do and where you want to go. Then throw yourself in!
“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished…It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” Denzel Washington
NICE public health guidance 55 (2014). Oral health: approaches for local authorities and their partners to improve the oral health of their communities.
With the possibility of mandatory vaccination of health and care workers in both clinical and non-clinical roles in England, this webinar delivers a deeper understanding of the impact of vaccination, helping to retain a protected and thriving workforce and promote patient safety.
As much as we are able, we aim to allay and address the fears of those who are concerned about getting vaccinated, and set out to provide the information needed for an informed choice.
Prof Jason Leitch, Senior Clinical Advisor to the Scottish Government, member of the Health and Social Care Management Board and CGDent Ambassador
Sarah Buxton, HR and Employment Solicitor, legal advisor for ADAM (Associate of Dental Administrators and Managers), the BDSHT (British Dental Society of Hygienists and Therapists)
Diane Rochford, BSDHT President (2020-2022)
Tashfeen Kholasi MCGDent, Vice President CGDent
Heidi Cresswell, Finance Officer, Society of British Dental Nurses
Dr Stefan Serban, Honorary Clinical Lecturer and Specialist Registrar in Dental Public Health
Prof Stephen Reicher FBA FRSE, Professor of Psychology at University of St. Andrews, School of Psychology and Neuroscience
Membership of the College of General Dentistry is open to all registered dental professionals. Membership for dentists is available from £94, and for other registered dental professionals from £33. The full list of CGDent membership rates is at https://cgdent.uk/membership-fees/.
This informative, CPD webinar, open to all dental professionals, explored the many uses of dental clinical photography and sets out how the dental team can work together in a clinical setting, to produce effective dental photographs.
The presentation included an introduction to the equipment required, and how to maintain it. We discussed the importance of an efficient workflow between operator and assistant to ensure positive outcomes and explored how to critically appraise clinical photos effectively, closing with a Q&A session.
Dr Frank Clough MCGDent
One CPD hour available.
GDC Development Outcomes: B and C
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