Blackhills Symposium 2019

09 December, 2019 / professional-focus

Now in its eighth year, the Blackhills Symposium mixes clinical learning with sessions on business planning, employment law, leadership, and team building.

More than 120 dentists, dental nurses, hygienists, and therapists gathered at the Perth Racecourse conference venue last month for the annual symposium.

Delegates from 37 practices heard from a wide range of top speakers sharing their insights into better business planning, staff wellbeing, and clinical skills. Between sessions attendees networked and engaged with representatives staffing 24 trade stands.

The free-to-attend all-day symposium is for all dental practices referring to Blackhills and is open to all members of the team. It offers a full day of verifiable CPD with a wide variety of speakers and parallel sessions for different groups.

“It’s a way to say ‘thank you’ to the dental practices who refer to us and trust us to deliver the best possible treatments for their patients,” said Paul Stone, Clinical Director, “and provide exhibition space to the many different companies who work with us.”

Set in the picturesque grounds of the historic Scone Place and skirting the banks of the River Tay, the racecourse is a wonderful venue with the lecture hall directly above the exhibition and coffee/lunch area. “The staff are great and go the extra mile to deliver a good experience for the attendees,” said Paul.

He added: “We try to construct a programme which is a little different from the usual all-clinical format seen at most other small meetings – mixing other aspects together, such as business, law, leadership, and team building.

“Along with this, Blackhills Clinic specialists also lecture every year, focusing on topics that are relevant to general dentists and their teams.

“We often find our suppliers and supporting companies are very keen to provide speakers for the symposium and we have seen that our delegates appreciate this varied programme by the comments they make on their feedback forms over the years.”

Paul said that this year’s symposium yielded another great set of forms. “The attendees seemed to love Andy McDougall from Spot On Business Planning, even though he’s an accountant!

“They also gave great comments about our two specialists Graeme Lillywhite, who spoke on occlusal considerations in restorative dentistry, and Marilou Ciantar, who covered aesthetic periodontics.”

Commenting on the content of his presentation, Andy said: “Running a healthy business requires firstly strategic focus, only then can the tactics be determined. So, a strategic plan is derived.

“The planned achievement is spread over the year so we can measure progress via performance management, monthly management accounts and KPIs. In delivering the target performance we need to deliver change. This is a function of leadership. It cannot be delivered without getting the team on board. This most often requires a cultural change.”

One of the many highlights of the day was the presentation by Peter Mossey, Professor of Craniofacial Development at the University of Dundee, who spoke on issues affecting the cleft and craniofacial communities.

His presentation focused on the inequalities in access to care for cleft lip and palate patients in the developing world and illustrated the projected role of dentists as health professionals in the future.

“We try to construct a programme which is a little different from the usual all-clinical format seen at most other small meetings”

Paul Stone

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