New year, big changes? Dental training reform

 ​It’s the end of the year, everyone is winding down, reflecting on the year gone by and looking forward to the new year in 2018. This year, the YDC has looked at many important issues.

The biggest theme has been around undergraduate and postgraduate training. We have looked at both Dental Foundation Training and Dental Core Training and recruitment.

But there appears to be a potentially more fundamental change to training coming, and this is predominantly, if not solely, to do with undergraduate training pathways.

It appears Liverpool dental school may be looking at common training pathways for dentists and DCPs. I was lucky enough to hear Professor Callum Youngson speak about this at a recent event, and how it has been necessitated by cuts in funding to the school.

In that context it seems sensible to look at how the training delivery can be streamlined.

Proposed changes to dental training: your views needed

This initiative must not be confused with the proposed changes being suggested by COPDEND and the Office of the CDO which will report to Health Education England, under the heading of ‘Advancing Dental Care’. 

The proposals suggest a common entry pathway for dentists and DCPs being a part of reform. Meaning anyone entering the programme will not know if they will be eligible for a BDS or not.

An alternative idea seems to be a move to modular training, meaning you are training a bit in this and a bit in that – again, without knowing where the training might actually take you.

I can’t see how such a system would work.

Without having certainty into what they are entering, it would be foolhardy to expect the most able students to apply for a potential BDS. Why would anyone want to devote time on a course, without such a certainty?

This is only one of the problems.

Another is the fact that the report is only looking at delivering a workforce for the NHS. Given the number of patients who access private care, I feel this will be doing a disservice to the public.

It is also doing a disservice to the people entering the course who will be churned out to perform in the NHS, in whatever capacity. Apparently, ‘Advancing Dental Care’ will not consider how any new potential NHS contract will impact the workforce.

Such a lack of joined up thinking is shocking, if the agenda is to produce a productive workforce for the NHS.