I wish to make a special appeal to all our IDA members to help us with our General Election 2020 campaign to resist unworkable dental reforms which serve neither patients or dentistry.
Firstly, I am pleased to report that our concerns have been endorsed in its manifesto by Fianna Fail which has described the oral health policy, Smile agus Slaintecare, as flawed and inadequate, and to say we are committed to lobbying nationally with all political parties. More information on our campaign with the political parties nationally can be read elsewhere.
However, unless the politicians see that these concerns are echoed at constituency level, our message will be lost amongst so many other competing demands for the attention of the politicians.
That is why the Association has invested in unprecedented fashion in providing resources to our members to engage, along with all other members of your dental team, with patients, politicians and your wider local community. I would ask that you use the resources provided by the Association, which you can download from your regular newsletter and the IDA website, to engage with your local electoral candidates in particular.
One key message to emerge from experts who presented to our meeting at the weekend was the importance of using social media to amplify all our other efforts to press the case for dentistry in the final weeks of the general election campaign.
In particular, I was struck by how important Twitter is as a social media platform, consumed as it is so voraciously by the media and by politicians (two key audiences for us). That is why I would make particular appeal to members to use the images we have made available to members to use posting on Twitter and other social media to explain our concerns. You have been provided with the key messages we ask members to use and I would also ask that you use the hashtags #youdeserve better, #notmypolicy and #GE2020 to maximise the impact. Perhaps you might also tag @irishdentists so we can see your efforts. You can also tag your local politicians and / or health spokespeople in the various political parties.
As many as 200,000 dental appointments take place every week and thankfully our profession is still seen as respected and influential. We have a real opportunity to explain our position with so many people every day of the week so lets use that great advantage in pressing the case for workable dental reforms which can only happen by engaging with the profession rather than leaving dentists outside the door.
However, we cannot assume that just because we all know how important oral health is that others will understand and act accordingly so please help us by making the voice of dentistry heard, not just from our great team in IDA House but also from as many of our hard working members and their team also.
If you need any advice or assistance, then please be sure to contact us in IDA House.
Keep us posted and share your General Election feedback by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Leo Stassen