A year of change but much still to do

17 June, 2019 / editorial
 Sarah Allen  

Sarah Allen reflects on the progress of an ever-evolving profession

A year ago, I sat in front of a blank screen and a blinking cursor to write my first editorial. I said then that, though usually it is difficult staring at that screen and that cursor, to know where on earth to begin, on that occasion the problem was not where to start, but where to stop. 

A year later I find myself once again staring at that blank screen and blinking cursor, but this time it is to write my last editorial as editor of Scottish Dental, and it is much hardera to know where to start, but I know I will stop with a goodbye.

The world of dentistry never stands still. It is populated with people always driving forward

In my first editorial I wrote about our hopes for Scottish Dental, my desire for it to reflect the profession and the professionals that I knew from the years I have spent working with them. I set out our aims to showcase the breadth and depth of the dental world, provide strong clinical content, and write features which are of benefit and interest to you as readers and professionals; and our ambition to celebrate the achievements and reflect the concerns of the profession, to ask the difficult questions and demand answers.

In the past year I believe we have made great strides toward achieving those aims. We have relaunched the magazine with a new look and feel; run a campaign looking at many aspects of mental health and wellbeing; applied journal standards and practices to our clinical articles, peer-reviewing them and providing an opportunity for those at the start of their career to be published in a national title; and running features and articles covering a wide range of topics relating to dentistry.

Yes, we’ve covered a lot, because a lot has happened in dentistry in the past year: clinical guidelines have been issued; action plans launched; professional achievements made; the world has turned, and dentistry has turned with it. Because the world of dentistry never stands still. It is populated with people who are always driving forward, committed to their patients, to developing their profession, their clinical and non-technical skills, to exploring all that is possible with technological and clinical advances, to investing in ongoing training and education. This has been a busy year, the GDC even made a state visit to Scotland!

What else has happened then? CDOs have gone, but not quite come again; Oral Health Improvement Plans have… well, they have moved forward a little bit but at every turn more and more questions have been raised, without any real answers being offered; dentistry has been downgraded in government, and that GDC state visit does not seem to have helped the fraught relationship between them and the professionals they regulate… 

Do you see where I’m going with this? Because for all that there has been progress made by the professionals and the profession, there has been stagnation too. Evolution not revolution we were told; well, if there is one thing we know it’s that evolution takes a long, long time. Just ask Charles Darwin.

This means of course that there is much, much more to do in the coming months and years as the next editor takes on the stewardship of the magazine. But like a parent who can’t quite let go once their child has left for university, I will not be completely severing my ties with Scottish Dental, remaining as consultant editor and working with the team and our editorial board. 

Sarah Allen

Because, though my relationship with the magazine is changing, my admiration and hopes for the profession are not. I am excited to work with the new editor as he continues to ask the hard questions and demand answers, showcase achievements and reflect the concerns and interests of all dental professionals. I stop therefore, not with a goodbye, but an until we meet again.

Sarah Allen sarah@sdmag.co.uk. Follow Scottish dental on twitter at: @scottishdental

Tags: Dentistry / Editorial / evolving / moving on / profession / Sarah Allen

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