It's the end of the year, everyone is winding down, reflecting on the year gone by and looking forward to the new year in 2018. This year, the YDC has looked at many important issues.
The biggest theme has been around undergraduate and postgraduate training. We have looked at both Dental Foundation Training and Dental Core Training and recruitment.
But there appears to be a potentially more fundamental change to training coming, and this is predominantly, if not solely, to do with undergraduate training pathways.
It appears Liverpool dental school may be looking at common training pathways for dentists and DCPs. I was lucky enough to hear Professor Callum Youngson speak about this at a recent event, and how it has been necessitated by cuts in funding to the school.
In that context it seems sensible to look at how the training delivery can be streamlined.
Proposed changes to dental training: your views needed
This initiative must not be confused with the proposed changes being suggested by COPDEND and the Office of the CDO which will report to Health Education England, under the heading of 'Advancing Dental Care'.
The proposals suggest a common entry pathway for dentists and DCPs being a part of reform. Meaning anyone entering the programme will not know if they will be eligible for a BDS or not.
An alternative idea seems to be a move to modular training, meaning you are training a bit in this and a bit in that – again, without knowing where the training might actually take you.
I can't see how such a system would work.
Without having certainty into what they are entering, it would be foolhardy to expect the most able students to apply for a potential BDS. Why would anyone want to devote time on a course, without such a certainty?
This is only one of the problems.
Another is the fact that the report is only looking at delivering a workforce for the NHS. Given the number of patients who access private care, I feel this will be doing a disservice to the public.
It is also doing a disservice to the people entering the course who will be churned out to perform in the NHS, in whatever capacity. Apparently, 'Advancing Dental Care' will not consider how any new potential NHS contract will impact the workforce.
Such a lack of joined up thinking is shocking, if the agenda is to produce a productive workforce for the NHS.
We are still keen to hear what you think, please read our blog post and get in touch with your comments.
A big thank you to the Young Dentists Committee
Two big items have come out of the YDC this year too.
The new YDC newsletter has given space for young dentists to write about their areas of speciality, and share experiences, as well as a way of keeping you up to date on issues affecting younger dentists.
The second being the BDA's Joy Harrild Award for Young Dentists with Imran Asghar being a worthy first recipient.
I'd like to thank the departing cohort of the YDC for all their hard work and contributions. They have given up their time to represent their peers, and they've cared about making a difference.
With the recent BDA elections it was heartening to see a so many people putting their hat in the ring for YDC. I can see there will be some members of the current YDC returning and there will also be many new faces. A blend of experience and new perspectives can only be a good thing.
I look forward to the progress of the newly-elected YDC, and they will certainly have their hands full to start with in challenging such a poorly thought out reform of training.
I've really enjoyed my term of office, and I am sad to be stepping down as Chair in February, but I know the new YDC will continue to do great work on your behalf.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!