As President of the Association, I am always reminded that optimism is essential to good leadership. It is, therefore, particularly gratifying to report that I have witnessed so many grounds for optimism in the past number of months.
I was delighted to see such boundless optimism and energy at the recent IDA Practice Management Seminar. I was particularly struck by the impressive contributions from three young dentists who have shown that it is entirely possible, with energy, determination and hard work, to build successful dental practices. The buzz created by the presentations from Doctors Neysan Chah, Nicola Zammit and James Hiney was palpable. Many colleagues commented that it was the most uplifting session of what was undoubtedly a positive meeting.
The same sense of optimism and pride in the profession was reinforced when I attended the recent presentation to the winners of Ireland’s Sensitive Dentist 2014. The stories behind the presentations from the nominees are reported elsewhere in the Journal.
Many will have heard our radio advertising campaign in recent weeks, which I hope has been a great boost to the profession. We can only wish that the public begins to learn the immense value of regular dental attendance and the disparity between the perception of oral health held by so many people and the actual fact of significant amounts of gum disease in the community. Hopefully members can capitalise on the undoubted impact of this campaign.
I was gratified to be invited to join a meeting attended by the Deans of the various dental schools and our Chief Executive, Fintan Hourihan, in the Department of Health recently. The purpose of the meeting with the Secretary General of the Department, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, and the Chief Dental Officer, Dr Dympna Kavanagh, was to discuss the consensus that emerged at the meeting of the Oral Health Forum in November. The preliminary recommendations of this group show a significant consensus within the profession on the essential steps necessary to arrest the decline in oral health in recent years. It is with particular pleasure that I have witnessed the emerging collaboration between the Association and dental academe in particular.
It has been very evident in my travels and in my discussions with members that there is significant concern about recommended changes to the Dental Council’s Code of Conduct on Infection, Prevention and Control. I am very grateful to all those who contributed to our comprehensive submission to the Dental Council. Our submission makes plain that the Association remains committed to high standards of infection prevention and control, but also emphasises the need for viable and evidence-based recommendations.
Finally, I am delighted to welcome a new colleague to IDA House with the arrival of Sarah Gill as our new Employment/Communications Officer. As Officers we are mindful of the huge value afforded by the outstanding secretariat in IDA House and I am delighted therefore that members will be able to avail of the usual high standard of professional and friendly advice from Sarah and all in IDA House.
Dr Séan Malone