Those of you who read and digest the news and views of dentistry at large will perhaps have noticed the recent Private Dentistry Awards1. A rip roaring time in London for all who attended. A sore head or two the next day I’ll bet.
The recent announcement of the winners serves to highlight the lengths that many colleagues will go to strive for excellence. They are also extraordinary in that they can find the time to document their activities and seek to obtain external recognition. To all who entered and indeed were in the awards, heartfelt congratulations.
To all of you who did not enter, I am sure I am not alone in noticing that the effect rubs off.
You read about how others do things. You read about ideas and marketing. You introduce these things in your own way into your own practice. Just because you do not enter does not mean you are not a winner.
Of course, the clue is in the name – none of these particular practices lay claim to providing dental care under the NHS, although how many of them employ NHS associates remains to be detailed.
But as we witness NHS England purging their Performers List with suspect letters of a dodgy tone threatening removal arbitrarily simply because it suits someone in London’s database management skills, it seems to me that there is no doubt about this: Beware the false security that the Government offers.
Left to its own devices, Dentistry as a business and a profession would make a far better job of marketing its services at the right price, in the right place, to best suit a particular patient base than any mish-mash of Reds, Ambers and Greens that the Government’s Department of Health lackeys can come up with. Why it is that our academic colleagues often fail to see or understand this paradigm remains a mystery. Are we all really that imbued with social guilt so that any talk to do with the NHS simply proves it is culturally embedded?
That must be the counterpart message of the BDA as it emerges leaner, poorer, but fitter and raring to “engage”.
By all means engage with the DH, but the BDA must lay out the subtle threat that we do have to courage to do it ourselves, and will do it better.
Now that is a profession in a win-win position. The winners of such a brave approach would be everyone, patients included.