When I first started out as a new associate, I was encouraged by my principal to attend a Local Dental Committee (LDC) meeting. Not really knowing what to expect, but with the promise of a nice scone, I was delighted to find I was welcomed into a group of practitioners who were ready to provide support and advice,
while working to improve NHS dentistry.
LDC: where your voice matters
Getting involved in the LDC was my first real insight into dental politics. I care passionately about contract reform and know the profession needs a prevention-based contract which is fairer for dentists and their patients. By attending meetings, I began to get a handle on how we can have an influence on these major issues. When elections came around, I put my name forward and became a member of Wakefield LDC and before I knew it, I was at the conference in Belfast!
My first conference was a little daunting. But I attended with delegates from Wakefield who were great mentors and I presented a motion calling for the reinvigoration of the contract reform process. This showed me that my voice was just as important as anyone else's in that room and encouraged me to speak out on issues that matter.
It is easy to feel that the issues you face daily in your practice are only your own, but they are likely the same issues faced by dentists all over the UK. An event like this shows that by coming together and speaking up about the issues that matter to us, we can make a change.
My career and the LDC
Being involved in my LDC has opened doors for me. After Belfast, I was given opportunities to write an article for BDJ In Practice and to sit on the Shadow Evaluation Group on contract reform at the BDA.
Of course, it isn't all work. I've also found mentors and made friends through the LDC. Dentistry can be an isolating profession, but having a good group of people around you that can support you, can make all the difference in your career.
The social aspect of conference is great too. I think it was the first time I had been in a social situation with that many dentists since my Graduation Ball from University. It reminds me that, despite the misery of UDAs, we are all up for a good time!
Here's looking at you, kid
When I attended conference in Birmingham last year, I argued passionately that we should open up more and be more representative of the profession. I am happy to see we are making headway towards this already, with new reserved places for younger dentists at this year's conference. There will also be an induction event for new members on the first day so you can meet others who are just starting out.
There's never been a better time to get involved. I invite first time conference goers and dentists in the first decades of their career, to get in contact with their committee to find out if you qualify for one of the reserved places.
We need new faces and new ideas, so that we can
represent the profession as it is and make the changes that the NHS and this generation of dentists need. Join us in Brighton on the 4-5 June this year and share what you think!
Dentist and LDC enthusiast
Contact your Local Dental Committee to book your place at this year's conference in Brighton, 4-5 June.
Don't know which LDC you belong to? Contact Alex Cenic: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out.