Two new codes of practice from the Dental Council and an interview with an international leader in our profession are among the highlights of this edition.
The new Codes of Practice from the Dental Council cover the vital areas of infection prevention and control, and continuing professional education. They are the product of significant work by colleagues with expert knowledge, and have also been subject to considerable consultation. The result of that consultation has been a noticeable improvement in the focus, and therefore the likely effectiveness, of the Codes. We are fortunate to have excellent articles relating to both new Codes of Practice in this edition of the Journal.
The President of the Dental Council, Dr Eamon Croke, has written a superb article describing the evolution of the new Code of Practice relating to: Infection Control and Prevention from the 2005 Code. In it, he summarises the contents and states: “The new Code is the ground on which a culture of patient safety can be built in every dental premises – a culture of shared attitudes, values and practices by all in dental healthcare. It is a culture that places patient and staff safety centrally; it is a culture that allows dentistry consistently to say “we care for you!””
Dr Marielle Blake gave an interview to the Journal on the other new Code launched by the Dental Council – that relating to the requirements for continuing professional development (CPD). The important point is that the Council has identified seven core areas of verifiable CPD, each with a recommended time allocation. Dr Blake is direct in her explanation of why the Council has moved in this direction: “In reviewing the Council’s fitness to practise cases, certain areas were identified, which were causing difficulties with our registrants – these involved communication, record-keeping and conflict resolution. these topics are now included in the core subjects”.
The Council has identified seven core areas of verifiable CPD, each with a recommended time allocation.
The Association is robust in its support of the Codes – having been concerned in its critique of the initial draft of the Code on infection prevention and control. Our Chief Executive Fintan Hourihan outlines that support in his article on the subject, noting that: “Setting out acceptable standards rather than unattainable doctrines will be shown to produce a better mitigation of risk in years to come, I have no doubt.” These are wise words and show the extent to which the profession is succeeding in listening to each other’s representatives in the process of developing best practice. And he has committed the Association to support for members: “Again, we will be redoubling our efforts to assist dentists to meet their CPD requirements, taking account of the new guidance from the Dental Council”.
Notable coup for WiDEN
The Women in Dentistry Network (WiDEN) scored a notable coup by getting the first female President of the FDI, Dr Michèle Aerden, to address their recent meeting in Dublin. With their assistance, the Journal secured an interview with this outstanding leader of our profession. Dr Aerden’s work at the World Health Organisation (WHO) to integrate oral health with overall heath was recognised when the WHO passed a resolution acknowledging the intrinsic link between oral health, general health and quality of life. The fact that Dr Aerden came to dentistry a little later than normal in life only adds to the impressiveness of her achievements and her story is captured well by our colleague Ann-Marie Hardiman. It’s the second major interview with an international leader in our profession in two editions, coming immediately after our interview last edition with the President of the ICD, Dr Joe Kenneally.
In our peer-reviewed section, we have a cautionary tale about a frontal swelling; a review of the implications of the Ebola virus outbreak for Ireland; and, the second part of the article on mandibular implant-supported overdentures. Our thanks as always to Dr Ioannis Polyzois for the excellent abstracts in the Journal.
In the members only section, Fintan Hourihan reports on the recent stakeholders’ consultation day on the National Oral Health Policy; there is a report and photographs from the Annual Conference; and, Sarah Gill writes on managing and preventing underperformance. Dr Martin Foster of DPL also gives us an interesting perspective on the importance of timing in responding to patients.
Even if you read only one of the many articles in this edition, we hope that it will enhance your work and your knowledge – and if you manage to read several, that you will be very well informed on latest developments in dentistry in Ireland.
Prof. Leo F. A. Stassen