26th BSDHT President Julie Deverick shares her vision for the future
During the Oral Health Conference in Telford, 2018, the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) officially welcomed Julie Deverick as its new President.
Julie qualified as a dental hygienist from the Royal Army Dental Corps (RADC) in 1987. Throughout the 22 years she served in the RADC, she worked in UK and overseas clinics before spending the final six years of her military career back at the training school where she qualified, eventually becoming the Principal Tutor.
In 2007 she joined the BSDHT Southern Regional Group committee, taking on the roles of Trade Liaison Officer and Regional Group Representative until 2012. After a year’s break, Julie was nominated and voted onto the BSDHT Executive Committee as Honorary Secretary; so, with five years Executive experience it should stand her in good stead for her new position.
Julie reflects on how the profession has changed in the last decade. “When I initially became involved with the BSDHT in 2007, CPD was a major focus throughout the dental profession and such events were highly valued by individuals. Today, however, there has been a huge shift towards online learning and the reading of articles, with fewer and fewer university leavers physically attending conferences and educational events.
“This trend has been somewhat encouraged by the new ECPD regulations from the GDC, but it can also be seen across various industries outside dentistry. It may be a challenge, but this is something I would really like to see change among dental hygienists and dental therapists in some way.
“The BSDHT is whole-heartedly encouraging professionals to attend events whenever they can, because they are not just about CPD – they’re also about networking and meeting peers with whom we can share ideas and experiences. As such, we are looking to introduce smaller study groups in different regions of the UK to provide more intimate environments for professionals to really make the most of all the benefits afforded by meeting face-to-face.”
We are still fighting
The BSDHT has never been afraid of a fight when it comes to enhancing its members’ ability to deliver excellent patient care. An example of this is its joint project with the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) in campaigning for exemptions to the Medicines Act that would enable dental hygienists and dental therapists to supply and administer certain prescription-only medications.
“This will continue to be a key project for the BSDHT,” continues Julie. “We are currently waiting for a public consultation, so we can sit down with NHS England and discuss potential solutions. There has never been a guarantee that we would be successful, but we are still fighting because we believe that what we’re asking for could have a huge influence on professionals’ ability to provide patient care. Hopefully, we will see a successful conclusion by the end of my BSDHT Presidency.
“We are also looking to help develop the role of dental therapists in the workplace. The aim is to help them and practices better utilise their skills within NHS dentistry, which can be challenging in light of the restrictions placed upon them. We have begun the conversation with other organisations and I hope to push this forward over the coming months.”
Looking ahead to her coming two years as President, Julie said: “We have now established a clear strategy for the Society, which focuses very much on our members. In particular, we would like to engage more with dental hygienists and dental therapists who are new to dentistry, as they are the future of the organisation and the profession as a whole.
“We want to show them that joining the BSDHT means so much more than gaining access to CPD and other learning opportunities – we are a community and a support network, offering each other reassurance and encouragement whenever it is needed.
“As the new President of the BSDHT, I am personally hoping to increase engagement throughout our existing membership as well. As an organisation, we are involved in many projects and we sit on various different panels in order to stand up for our profession and contribute to improved health of our patients.
“It is my mission to ensure that the best person with the most relevant qualifications from within the BSDHT is chosen to represent us at each of these opportunities, so that we can get the most out of them and offer the most value to other organisations and individuals.”
Julie becomes the 26th President of the Society. With this in mind she concludes: “The BSDHT has experienced some major changes in recent years – we now have our own offices and dedicated team overseeing the organisation, which gives us real stability and direction.
“Nothing we do at the moment would have been possible without the hard work and commitment of key individuals such as Annette (our social media guru), Heather (editor of our journal for nearly 20 years and our voice of reason) and Fay (we could not exist without her expertise and marketing knowledge), among many others.
“There will be some fairly big changes to the executive team and council this year, but with new blood comes new ideas and fresh enthusiasm to continue growing and improving our Society. Going forward, I have complete confidence that the team will support me in every way – and I them.”
For more information about the BSDHT visit www.bsdht.org.uk