Brian Westbury, Senior Dentolegal Consultant at Dental Protection has been appointed Dean at the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine – in the following interview, he talks about his appointment:
How did you first come across the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine and how long have you been involved with them?
A few years ago, about eight or nine, I was involved in some early correspondence with the Faculty to get dental members admitted on similar foundation terms to medical members as they did not accept dentists.
Dr Carol Seymour kept the flame glowing, and during her Presidency persuaded the College and Faculty that dentists would make worthy members. Soon after hearing this I applied and was awarded a Fellowship.
What is so distinct about this Faculty?
Forensic medicine is fascinating and something that I have always found interesting. It seemed like a perfect fit with my legal background. Many Dentolegal Consultants (DLCs) and Medicolegal Consultants (MLCs) have Legal and Medical qualifications and have also received in-house training in those fields. It is a unique double field and the Faculty is the “home” for MLCs and DLCs.
It is also unique in having, currently, a mixed medical and dental membership on equal terms. This does not occur in other Colleges.
How do you combine your work at Dental Protection and being the Dean at the Faculty?
Having been at Dental Protection for over 20 years and assisted thousands of members, I have decided to take a step back and take on an advisory role, which allows me to be on top of the issues, but not get caught up in the administrative duties. The work balance I get at Dental Protection means I can still continue to support members whilst also giving me the space to be fully engaged with the deanship and attend meetings during the day and out of hours.
Do you think a dentist being appointed as Dean of the Faculty will have a positive impact on the field of dentistry as a whole?
Working at Dental Protection, I have learnt the significant importance of learning from dental cases when things go wrong. Once we are able to identify why something has happened we can prevent it from reoccurring, and I will use my experience to promote good dentolegal practice. I will also be looking at how the faculty can work with Medical Defence Organisations on issues of joint advantage to them – for example identifying trends where there is risky practice.