‘Don’t tell us what will work until you have done it yourself’, says Vijay

‘Don’t tell us what will work until you have done it yourself’, says Vijay

In a  hard-hitting speech to the LDC Conference dinner, Chair Vijay Sudra said dentists were sick and tired and fed up with the ‘great and good’, who have never had to work in the UDA world, let alone in general dental practice, coming up with ideas on what is good for the profession and patients, yet have no idea what the reality is like at the enamel face. “NHS practices are struggling, he said, “The system is broken.”

Vijay started with an introduction to the City of Birmingham, saying: ‘I am proud to call this city my home, this place has given so much to the world. Then told his audience a little about himself – how he had arrived in the country aged 3, a refugee from the brutal Idi Amin regime in Uganda. And in spring of 1973, his family were rehoused to Birmingham, the city where ‘I grew up, where I went to school, to university and now practise dentistry.’

Turning to the main topic of the evening – dentistry. He described the practice where he works and where ‘alleviating dental pain is a very significant feature of my day to day work’. He said he was a general dentist and ‘I am bloody proud of it!’ He said there was no need for the ‘ability tiering nonsense’ that is being foisted upon the profession: ‘we should all be able to do deliver satisfactory dental care for our patients!’ It was a shame, he said, that successive governments ‘have treated our profession with contempt and failed to recognise what we do for patients on that NHS.’

Speaking for many colleagues who work in practices like his, he said they were

sick and tired, and fed up that the great and the good (and I include CDOs, Deputy CDOs current and past, the thinkers, movers and shakers, the academics, including those of us who ostensibly represent them as LDCs) who have never had to work in the UDA world, let alone in GDP world.’

He continued: “And yet these same people come up with ideas and variations on what is good for the profession and the patients and yet have no idea what the reality is like at the enamel face, no idea at all! NHS practices are struggling. The system is broken. To all leaders of our profession, my message is simple: do not tell us what will work for us and our patients until you have experienced our world yourself!”

Vijay then turned to another concern, how younger colleagues fearing the wrath of the regulator are now content to refer anything remotely challenging, leaving the patients on ever increasing waiting lists being passed from pillar to post as the electronic referral management systems bounces them forth like yo-yos. “Fear of dental litigation has changed the landscape of our service too, across all sectors and is symptomatic of wider changes in society,” he said.

Next he spoke about the prevention agenda. “Painting fluoride varnish is no substitute for being able to carry out root canal therapy, and this, in the vast majority of cases, should be deliverable by a GDP to an acceptable standard, free of the shackles of which tier the work or the practitioner fall into. We must not allow any further deskilling of the profession,” he said.

His message to the LDC Conference 2019 was blunt: “We must stop being led up garden paths that suit the department. We must stop dancing to their every tune. If we collectively say no, no, no,… who will deliver the work: fix broken teeth, not just paint fluoride varnish, we are dentists?!!

“We must get our patients onside, we must educate them on why they deserve a better deal. The time has come to stop nailing pretty framed pictures to the surgery walls encouraging babies to attend the practice, when the building around us is falling apart!”

He ended by saying: “For our patients, for our younger colleagues, for the sake of our profession, it is time to take back control!! We can, we must, and with the right attitude, we will!”

Following Vijay’s speech, the delegates were entertained by a recorded ‘speech’ from Charlie and Rufus:

https://youtu.be/Ct5diH9EGQo

Other linked news stories:

GDPC Vice-Chairs report to LDC Conference https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/3289-gdpc-vice-chairs-report-to-ldc-conference

LDC Conference 2019 voices widespread concerns in the profession https://www.gdpuk.com/news/latest-news/3288-ldc-conference-voices-widespread-concerns-in-the-profession

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