|Friday, 02 March 2012|
"The strength of the team is each individual member... the strength of each member is the team." - Coach Phil Jackson, Chicago Bulls, National Basketball Association
We all know that time passes quickly, but at a personal level the fi rst three months of being Dean of our Faculty have passed in a flash! It has also been an enjoyable but pretty sharp learning exercise and I am exceedingly grateful to Linda Stuart, our Faculty Administrator, for keeping me on the straight and narrow. Linda puts in an immense amount of work on our behalf and she represents the hub of the Faculty.
However the hub of a wheel cannot really function without the spokes. In relation to Faculty itself our spokes are the Members of Dental Council and the Chairs of our Specialist Advisory Boards. The latter, to keep the wheeled vehicle analogy going just a little longer, are perhaps the unsung heroes of the engine room. There are Advisory Boards for all the dental specialties and two others, those for Dental Care Professionals and Primary Dental Care. The boards are key in developing and maintaining quality in our assessment processes through our examinations and supporting those in training preparing to take our qualifi cations.
"What we should all be concerned about is the slow erosion of the resources available to the Colleges"
The volume of work undertaken by each board is large and the responsibilities parallel this. Colleagues give as freely of their time as we have any right to expect, particularly when many of them do so against a background of employers who are increasingly reluctant to release them from their stipendiary duties. We even have one or two members of boards who have had to take annual leave to attend a meeting or to examine.
This does raise the question of the continuing ability of the Royal Surgical Colleges in general to discharge their duties. One of our major roles is in providing independent quality assurance of education and training. This is an essential function. There is ready acceptance that employers run under considerable pressure to ensure that that they obtain maximal value from their employees but we are essential to the maintenance of a quality of care for our patients through independent benchmarking of the dental workforce. What we should all be concerned about is the slow erosion of the resources available to the Colleges.
The other essential area is for us to contribute to debate and infl uence decisionmaking in relation to oral healthcare both in Scotland, the rest of the UK and overseas in support of our Fellows and Members. It should be remembered that the Faculty is truly national (UK – Mr Salmond!) and international with most of our Fellows and Members living outside Scotland.
At a personal level, I would like the Faculty and Council to speak with a louder voice in this area and over the next few months wish to see what we can achieve. As ever, it would be good to hear the views of Fellows and Members wherever you may be on this or any other subject – and I promise to reply!
Dean, Faculty of Dental Surgery