The Council held a series of practitioner and stakeholder focus group meetings between 29 October and 13 November 2019 in the three main centres and by videoconference.
The purpose of the focus groups was to get practitioner and stakeholder’s perspectives on the design of our new recertification programme and test with them that the programme will be workable in practice.
We selected a range of practitioners from different demographics to ensure all oral health professions, different practice types and size, different community sizes and geographic locations, and different attitudes to the proposed changes were represented. The practitioner focus groups were attended by a total of 44 individuals from the following groups:
7 dental specialists
3 oral health therapists
6 dental therapists
8 dental technicians/clinical dental technicians.
We also held two focus groups via videoconference with key stakeholders. These stakeholders included professional organisations, specialist bodies, other interest groups, large employers and education providers.
The material supplied to participants and discussed at the focus groups is available on our website. Please note that this document is the background reading compiled for the focus group discussion and does not reflect the changes that have been made based on the feedback we received.
Overall practitioners were positive about the focus group process. While participants suggested ways to strengthen or make changes to the core components of the new recertification programme, very few were strongly opposed to the individual elements or the whole design.
The proposal not to specify a quota of hours for professional development activities was an issue that generated a great deal of discussion particularly amongst dentists and dental specialists. Some thought a mandatory quota for activities was important, others indicated they would be happy with an indicative guide only, while others thought no quota was required at all.
Eye health was another topic on which participants expressed a wide range of views. Many were of the view that either all, or no, practitioners should be required to make eye health declarations, and not just those above a specified age.
The pros and cons for these views and all other focus group feedback and perspectives were presented and discussed by Council at their meeting in early December 2019.
A summary of the feedback received at the focus groups and presented to the Council for their discussion is available on our website.
Council’s responses and decisions on key questions is now being incorporated into a final detailed design that we will share with all practitioners and stakeholders early next year. At that time, we will also be able to share more details about implementation of the new recertification programme including starting dates and what practitioners will be required to do.
As indicated previously, we are working hard to ensure that practitioners will be given plenty of time and support to prepare for the new programme. To this end, we have also started planning a second group of focus meetings that will start in March 2020. These focus groups will allow us to check with practitioners that the guidance resources (including templates and examples) we are developing clearly describe the requirements of the new programme, are easy to use and understand.
Invitations to the March 2020 focus groups will be issued before the end of December. In the meantime, more information and background about the new recertification programme is available on our website. If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com.