This year’s LDC Conference opened in Birmingham, chaired by Alisdair McKendrick. Themes that emerged included the poor oral health of some children, problems with the prototype contracts, underfunding and clawback. An innovation, a ‘Question Time’ debate, allowed representatives to question the CDO (England) and GDPC chair amongst others.
Motions provoked some lively debates, starting with a call for the removal of VAT for defibrillators. Following on from an inspirational talk by Claire Stevens of BSPD who called for a focus on getting all children in England to have a Dental Check by the age of One, #DCBy1 Conference approved motions calling for the Department of Health to take action on ‘the huge number of GA extractions’ among children and care for the elderly.
The ‘Question time’ debate allowed representatives to question Sara Hurley (CDO England), Henrik Overgaard-Nielson (GDPC chair), Nikki Patel (Representative of BDA Young Dentist Committee), Nairn Wilson (former president of GDC and BDA) and Paul Worskett (Prototype Provider). Most of the questions were directed initially at Sara Hurley, who stressed that a new contract was needed and that UDAs must go. They covered problems in achieving UDA target and the subsequent clawback. Stress, deskilling, the problems of young dentists and the harshness of the regulatory regime were other topics raised.
A second batch of motions provoked lively debate on the problems of those who held prototype contracts. Anger and disillusionment were palpable within the conference hall. But GDPC chair, Henrik Overgaard-Nielson, warned that if the profession withdrew from contract reform, they could well be saddled with UDAs for the foreseeable future.
The session ended with nominations for elections and various ‘housekeeping’ matters.