Members may already have encountered John Makin on the DDU dento-legal advice line or at dental conferences, where he is a regular (and entertaining) speaker on topics such as complaints handling and teamwork.
Describing his thoughts on his appointment, John said: "I feel hugely privileged to take on this role and look forward to building on the firm foundations laid by Rupert and Bryan during their years of service. It's thanks to their leadership and enthusiasm that the DDU has attracted more members and, in view of the unprecedented level of demand for assistance from DDU members, I am delighted that we shall be retaining their knowledge and experience."
John will lead an expanding team of advisers at a time when the numbers of complaints, GDC investigations and claims are rising.
Ultimately, the DDU is an organisation of dental professionals for dental professionals.
He is confident that the DDU is well-placed to resolutely represent and defend the best interests of individual members and, by means of its engagement with a variety of external bodies, the membership as a whole. "When I joined the DDU, I was impressed how, in supporting and guiding our members, my colleagues on the advisory team showed the same unstinting dedication and attention to detail that they would apply to their clinical practice. They use their practical experience, understanding and empathy in equal measure in supporting colleagues who may be experiencing the darkest moments of their careers.
Photo credit: MDU
"Ultimately, the DDU is an organisation of dental professionals for dental professionals. I am, therefore, confident that the exceptional quality of service we provide for our members will remain, even as we evolve to meet ever tougher dento-legal challenges."
John qualified from Manchester Dental School in 1983 and has postgraduate diplomas in law and dental education. A former GDP, John has nearly 30 years ' experience of NHS and private practice in Lancashire and Devon. His wide ranging experience, including a period as a GDC Fitness to Practise panellist, has been invaluable in equipping him for the role and has provided a valuable insight applicable to matters such as the DDU 's campaign for changes to the FtP process.
His interest in dental education led him to play an active part in Foundation Training for many years both as a Trainer and VT Adviser /Training Programme Director with the Manchester and Exeter DFT Schemes. More recently, he has been heavily involved in developing and delivering the DDU 's undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes.
Away from the office, John is an enthusiastic novice golfer. Like Rupert, he enjoys holidays to France but prefers the ski slope to the airstrip.
Dr Leo Briggs
The gap left by Bryan Harvey in the DDU's top team will be filled by Leo Briggs. A dento-legal adviser since 2005, Leo has assisted a great many dentists and DCPs over the years.
Photo credit: MDU
Working with John Makin, Leo pledges to ensure the DDU continues to be responsive to members' needs and represent them robustly. Citing the DDU helpline as a priority he said: "This is central to our service: providing clear, correct and relevant advice which helps members deal with the thorny issues they face in professional life and, hopefully, pre-empting problems before they escalate into a complaint or claim. I'm confident we will take the ongoing challenge of increasing call volumes in our stride."
Alongside his new role, Leo will continue to see dental patients every Saturday at a practice in Hampshire where he specialises in periodontics. He has an MSc in periodontology from the Eastman Dental Institute, London and is on the GDC specialist register. Leo has previously worked in the Community Dental Service and as a Clinical Tutor for the School for Professionals Complementary to Dentistry in Portsmouth.
When he does get some free time, Leo is an avid theatre-goer and particularly likes to see as many productions as possible at the National Theatre in London. He also enjoys gardening and walking his two Labradors.