Covid champion Ian honoured with top award

North Devon Gazette

Covid battling champion Ian Mills has been awarded his profession's highest honour for the part he has played in the fight against the pandemic

Torrington Dental Practice founding partner Ian has become the first ever recipient of the prestigious College Medal, the highest honour bestowed by the College of General Dentistry and formerly the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).

He received the award in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the dental profession over many years. In particular, the award acknowledges his leadership at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

He has also been recognised for his pivotal roles in establishing the College of General Dentistry (and securing the transfer of the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK into it last year), and or his promotion of greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the dental professions.

Ian qualified as a dentist from Glasgow University in 1987 and spent the early part of his career working in maxillofacial surgery.

In 1994 he moved to Devon, and three years later set up Torrington Dental Practice now an eight-surgery mixed NH-Sand-private practice, where he continues to work as a partner.

Ian is an Ambassador, Founder, Fellow and former Trustee of the College of General Dentistry, and has been instrumental in the establishment and progression of its Career Pathways programme.

A Fellow of the International College of Dentists, Education Academy and the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, he is a former Trustee of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

He became a Fellow of the FGDP (UK) in 2012, before becoming the first practitioner from the south-west to be elected Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).

During his three-year tenure as Dean, from 2018-2021, he oversaw the historic establishment of the new College of General Dentistry, played a pivotal role in the development of COVID guidelines to allow dental practices to operate safely during the pandemic, and instituted the FGDP-CGDent Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Board.

As well as his clinical practice, Ian has also worked at Peninsula Dental School in Plymouth since it was established in 2006 and was awarded a PhD for research into person-centred care in general dental practice in 2018.

He was recently appointed to the role of Associate Professor in Primary Care Dentistry and his current research interests include dental workforce recruitment and retention in rural areas, and mental health and well-being in dentistry.

He is  married to Zena, who is an orthodontist and partner at TDP. They have two children, Keir who is at PETROC College in Barnstaple, and a daughter Ruari who has chosen to follow in her parents’ footsteps, and is currently studying dentistry at Kings College London.

Ian joined an NHS England group at the sharp end of tackling the coronavirus crisis.

In February, he was invited to join an emergency NHS England working group to develop contingency plans for dentistry, pharmacy and optometry in case of a coronavirus COVID-19Â escalation.

It was key to updating dental practices on the steps they should take to help reduce the risk of the spread of infection, and on how they should manage any suspected cases of coronavirus among staff or patients.