A varied commentary of what is what in UK dentistry and beyond. Some economics, some tech as well as some futurology.
Tony is a dentist in a family practice in Manchester. He established GDPUK as a platform for dentists to communicate online in 1997. This has grown to the most visited site in UK dentistry. Tony is married with three grown up children.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the first posts by four members of GDPUK, by email.
Yes, that is how we started, unbelievably before Google and Facebook!
I do love telling this story, and I'd like to share it with you. I was online from 1996, in those days it was dial up with those nostalgic modem sounds. The web was much more simple in 1997, and I taught myself, as many of you did, how to write a web page, rudimentary html, including how to upload it and make it display. I was interested in email communication, and before the ease of modern social media, email lists were the best method, using an internet protocol older than the WWW.
I was a member of an American dental group, IDF, which is still going, but it was very US centred, not particularly useful for a UK dentist. In April 1997, I got the idea of founding a mailing list for UK dentists, and thought about how to get a group together. The BDJ was the way forward.
So, I wrote a letter on my word processor software, posted to BDJ that month and carried on with work and my family. This was the pace of life only 20 years ago. Then in June, [only 8 weeks later :) ] I received a postcard [!!] from the editor of BDJ, saying yes, we will publish your letter. So, in the second August magazine, my letter was published, three colleagues replied, and we got started in the September. Here is the Medline link to that letter .... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9293127
I must have the hard copy somewhere, ready for the GDPUK museum!!
We are celebrating the anniversary of GDPUK with our Conference in November. Early bird discounts available here https://www.gdpuk.com/conference/ I am looking forward to an interesting and unique day in Manchester - meeting colleagues old and new... all are welcome.
Looking forward to a celebratory drink with you all at the end of that day… cheers.
Thanks for reading and helping GDPUK grow for 20 years.
Discussions on GDPUK forum often stimulate my thinking and my thoughts in this blog are for the nation to consider in 2017. This blog uses dentistry for some of its examples, but is about the future of the NHS, and asks if the marketplace could help development of a different type of health care system, funded not just centrally. I have tried to keep this a short piece, so I have abbreviated the steps for my intelligent readers.
Here is a campaign in which GDPUK can be the leader and get the whole profession to change their thinking, and from there spread outwards.
I believe dentists, their teams and dental company offices and dental events must lead the way by being sugar free.
When we visit a dental organisation offices, or we go on a dental course, a conference, an exhibition, any event at all, we must demand that the organisers make the catering sugar free. As well as the granulated white stuff, we must banish the biscuits and the cakes, put out fruit and other snacks. Our chefs can conjure up delicious sugar free creations - let's make dental events the showcase for them.
I have found it weird that for years we would go to dental events and find white sugar, brown sugar, but we cannot find artificial sweeteners.
We need to banish the sugar from OUR events and encourage hotels, venues and offices to do the same. After dentistry, we must campaign for the NHS events to do the same, there must be hundreds of those every day. Minister of Health?
There are multiple alternatives to sugars for drinks, there are many sugar free options amongst soft drinks
In terms of table top sweeteners, there are intense sweeteners such as saccharin, and there are bulk sweeteners such as sorbitol or sucralose. Some people cope with artificial sweeteners in drinks, some dislike, we can accept that. At the premises of dental companies, and in our dental practices the law demands no smoking in the workplace, let dentistry take the lead and encourage adoption of sugar-free to trickle down to all food outlets, all hotels, all workplaces, and from there into homes. It does not have to be forced on anyone, no legislation, just a gentle change.
The larger dental organisations need to change their policies, and shout this from the rooftops. It would be good PR. Give journalists packets of sugar free sweets when the story is launched.
Let's do it, colleagues - we can take the lead and start the change to help our nation's health.