I was delighted to be asked to open the Spring Meeting of the OSG on Saturday and impressed with the turn-out in London’s Regents Park and an extremely well organised event.
Predictably, yours truly was talking about Lifecycle Marketing in the digital age and it was soon clear that many in the audience have a long way to go in embracing the changes that the Internet is making in the way we research and choose our providers.
As I was taking part in the post-lunch Q&A session, I stayed in the main conference hall, lucky to hear the stand out presentation of the day – Martin Kelleher on “Bleaching and bonding – facts, secrets and lies” – both hilarious and thought-provoking.
Other expert speakers covered clinical subjects but it was clear that the mood of the room was dominated by the NHS Commissioning process. The general atmosphere was one of deep insecurity.
The NHS provision of orthodontics is clearly not a happy place.
Credit should be given to executive of the BOS for the diplomatic work that they are doing with the CDO as well as the Department in representing their members’ interests.
However, their voice at the table is by invitation only and has limited influence whilst the rank and file membership remain silent.
Which brings me to a point.
In the aforementioned digital age, everyone has a voice and can be a catalyst for change.
During the Q&A we heard from a member of the audience who had lost his NHS ortho contract virtually overnight in typically Kafka-esque circumstances and had been told by his peers to “keep his mouth shut”.
I respectfully disagree.
The internet is a platform from which injustice can be revealed from behind its cloak of secrecy.
We all have a voice and like a teenage girl in India, a prisoner in South Africa or the victim of a poorly handled Fitness to Practice investigation, we can change the landscape if we speak out loud.
It is easy to paint a picture of rich orthodontists having “had it good for years” and the tide now turning.
However, when good people fall victim to a “system”, the web gives us the means to seek justice and change for others, if not compensation for our own trials.
Provided what we say is legal, decent and truthful, a blog gives us all the chance to change the world.