NI dentist honoured for services to the COVID-19 response

An NI dentist, Dr Derek Maguire, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Services to Dentistry and the COVID-19 Response.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 3:12 pm

The Portadown-based dentist said: “I didn’t see this award coming at all.

“I was surprised, very honoured and humbled,” said 56-year-old father of four.

“I am very proud of all my team, both here in Portadown and at each of my other sites. They have tirelessly stepped up to support our patients and each other during the pandemic, and continue to do so.”

Dr Derek Maguire.
Dr Derek Maguire.

He recalls 1989, the year he got married, turned 25 and bought the practice in Bridge Street, Portadown.

“In those days it was a two-surgery site, upstairs from a grocers and shoe shop. From the very start, I could see the potential and have been massively supported by the people in Portadown and surrounding areas in the decades since then.

“It has been a privilege to have been of service to the many patients who have crossed my door and I have never lost sight of the fact that ultimately I owe my success to each them and also my fantastic team.”

The practice, at 83a Bridge Street, now includes 11 surgeries, providing for almost 20,000 patients at that site alone.

Derek added, “Over the past thirty years, we have always warmly welcomed new Health Service and private patients alike and will continue to do so.”

His dental group now includes 11 separate practices, in Lurgan, Craigavon, Limavady, Belfast, Newcastle, Larne, Bangor, Strabane, Cookstown and Lisburn, which provide to over 63,000 patients across NI.

His group has been accredited with Investors in People at Gold Level and ranked first in the UK in their Healthcare sector. For over ten years now, the practice has been accredited with the British Dental Association Good Practice Scheme award.

In recent years, the management of his dental practice group has hugely benefited from their innovative central administrative hub, which is adjacent to the practice in Portadown.

Dr Maguire is a Fellow of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (Royal College of Surgeons of England), a Fellow of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow), a Fellow of Faculty of Dental Trainers (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh), and a Fellow of the International College of Dentists.

He is a Non- Executive Board Member with the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency, has previously been Chairman of Dental Committee with the Business Services Organisation, is an Executive Committee Member with the Faculty of Dental Trainers (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh), and acts as a Facilitator and Assessor for the Faculty of General Dental Practice (Royal College of Surgeons of England). On multiple occasions he has been a Vocational Trainer, General Practice Trainer, and more recently a Dental Foundation Trainer.

He has been a Dental Adviser to the Health and Social Care Board for over nine years and it was in this capacity that he was instrumental in the creation of the Urgent Dental Care Centres at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dental practices are particularly impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Most dental procedures are aerosol-generating, which means they release airborne particles which can result in potential spread of infection.

Urgent Dental Care Centres (UDCC) were established at the onset of the pandemic to see and treat patients with urgent dental care needs.

Dr Maguire has been at the forefront in helping navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic which has significantly impacted dental practices.

“Dentistry is significantly affected by COVID-19. We had no script for how to deal with it and it took a monumental effort by the entire dental community to find a way to look after patients while protecting colleagues,” added Dr Maguire.

“We had no script on how to deal with it and it took a monumental effort by the entire dental community to find a way to look after patients while protecting colleagues.

“Over a period of little over a week at the end of March, with support from colleagues in the Community Dental Services, we established five Urgent Dental Care Centres on Trust Sites and set up a triage system through Dalriada Urgent Care to ensure that patients were seen in a timely manner.

“In my 33 years in dentistry, this collaboration between General Dental Services and the Community Dental Service has been one of the most outstanding achievements. Without doubt, it is one of the finest examples of how dentistry can work to treat all sectors of the population, whilst at the same time ensuring staff safety - and I am extremely proud to have played a small part in it.

“There is much work still to be done as the pandemic is far from over, but I am confident the profession will once again use their resourcefulness with whatever resources they have at their disposal.”

Derek is married to his wife Muriel and they have four children. Leonard, who is also a dentist and heavily involved with the practices, William who is currently in specialist orthodontic training, Louise who has just taken up a post as a Clinical Trainee Scientist in Liverpool, and Matthew who is a fourth-year dental student in Queen’s University Belfast. In recent years, he and Muriel are the proud grandparents of Sophia and Leo, aged two and a half, and six months respectively.

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