Many of you will have noticed a worrying discussion occurring in GDP UK. The obvious stress and uncertainty of professional life at the various levels of practice in dentistry appears all too often to take an invisible toil.
Time and again, it appears, we hear stories of colleagues who have at one level or another struggled with big decisions and the reason to “be”.
I refer of course to the massive change that is occurring in the BDA membership structure.
Is it even an assumption too far to hope members all read the BDJ, where the Chairman of the BDA Professional Executive Committee has laid out his new stall.
Rest, Oh Cynical Muse.
Am I the only one to remain wondering how the new membership structure will support the new Strategic Aims? If the future of dentistry, for many, lies in the hands of the CDO and his team at the Department of Heath, one of the burning frustrations that I am sure I share with many members past and present is the lack of perception that the BDA truly fights its corners; the void of vision felt by the BDA’s members that ‘Wimpole Street’ should be publicly striving for the betterment of good dentistry.
When the DH comes up with daft unworkable ideas, let’s have a little bit less ‘broad acceptance’ perhaps? When the DH is trying to ration the availability of dentistry, where is the spade being called a spade? There is a campaign afoot called “NHS Dentistry - The Big Lie” – do I sense a certain distancing from such profoundly pointed language?
As the PEC might suggest, “let’s drill deeper”.
The Use of English perhaps will help understand what this Brave New World of BDA activity will entail. This the wording used by the PEC.
• In Communications We will enhance our web presence such that it fulfils the needs of members both individually and collectively
• Association strength We will create an environment where dentists can understand the real value of collective strength and why their personal membership of the BDA is crucial
• Member value We will build upon current work to tailor services to members' particular needs and interests
• Standards We will champion the concept of personal professional accountability
• Leading the health debate We will set an agenda for oral health delivery in each country of the United Kingdom
Aside from applauding the BDA having high aspirations, it might appear that it also has desires to become a political party, [sorry ... I know it has been hard work, but such language has 'too large a committee' written all over it].
The consistent question I want to read the answer to, after each bold declaration of intent is:
I am reminded of the film quote from "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner in which he said "If you build it, t(he)y will come"
The question is, Messrs BDA, WHAT are you building? You see, I worry that lots of people are thinking, and planning and advising. But do we see evidence of anyone "doing" anything? Just look at this graphic flow chart of “who does what”.
If I pay 1100 of my finest GB pounds, I could, indeed would, argue that the BDA Expert, the Conference tickets and access to online science are value enough. But not all agree.
It is obvious that the BDA aspires to something better, but from this latest strategic statement it remains hard to understand what exactly this is.
If you are not a member, at £295, it’s a snip and there is no excuse now.
But I do hope that the change in membership fees does not result in a significant reduction in the BDAs income as everyone seeks the “Cheap as Chips” level.
Professional suicide in the making? No – that’s a separate and much more serious issue. But the jury is out for the few months until the membership analysis occurs after the Summer.
All smiles in 6 months? It will be only if YOU get out there and buy in to the future.
A very interesting article about the BDA.
I suppose the main point from the diagram is that whilst all Members are placed at the centre of all the BDA does (Good), there is also the DANGER that decisions enter a 'cycle' of advice that doesn't result in assertive Actions (Bad).
I say Danger because to be blunt (unlike me I know ) Actions do peak louder than words and it is Actions that will demonstrate the nBDAs determination to be both a Trade Union and a force for what is better for it's Members.
As a Profession, we have to put patients first - that is the USP of being a Professional !!!
However, what is bad for Dental Professionals and their Teams is nearly ALWAYS BAD for patients too - so we need the BDA to state that loud and clear and yes, that sometimes means stating the obvious loudly and clearly, such as NHS Dentistry isn't Nationally available to everyone, isn't Health and Prevention based and isn't a Service free to all regardless of income BECAUSE Government has imposed restrictions that the Dental Profession cannot change!
This might be better communicated as ' NHS Dentistry - The Big Lie ' to grab the attention of Public and Politicians alike. OK it's a bit bold at http://www.nhsdentistrythebiglie.co.uk but sometimes one has to be absolutely clear, I'm sure the NEW BDA could get the message across in it's own style without being too wordy and lose the reader in the first Paragraph.
It is a simple truth and of course the BDA can still remind everyone Dental Teams will do their best within such centrally imposed limitations, but the public, regulatory bodies and politicians should be left in NO DOUBT about this basic truth!
Yes we are Professionals, but that doesn't mean we are Miracle workers either !
I also think an Honest Dialogue direct with the public is the future - there is far too much Spin and deception for my liking going on, though to be fair I have now heard Barry Cockroft, CDO for England ,admit publicly that the NHS Dentistry budget isn't unlimited, we are in tough economic times and of course they are looking for value for money more and more.
But the English DH haven't been brave enough to actually write that down anywhere, which is a shame.
Isn't it time or everyone to get real and be SEEN to get real?
In this respect, the nBDA could lead by example - i think you'll find that would be 'broadly welcomed' by the vast majority!