The first-ever specialist training programme for special care dentistry in England and Wales began this week.
Special care dentistry (SCD) is the newest UK dental speciality, only being formally recognised by the General Dental Council (GDC) in October 2008.
That step allowed the specialist advisory committee for special care dentistry to work with the London Deanery to design the first dedicated curriculum for this field which is taking place at at the Dental Institute based at Guy’s Hospital.
The three-year course at the Dental Institute – made up of the Foundation Trusts of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital, and King’s College London University – is the culmination of that work.
Monday saw the first four trainees begin their studies which will include supervised patient treatment sessions and problem based learning, seminars and lectures on the theoretical aspects.
The course also includes a two-year MSc, and upon completion the postgraduates will be in a position to apply for specialist, and subsequently consultant, posts.
Special care consultant, Janice Fiske, who also chairs the specialist advisory committee, said: ‘This is a really big day for special care dentistry because it was over thirty years ago that the first calls were made for a recognised specialist training programme to be established. It has taken longer that it should have but the most important thing is that we are here now. I’m over the moon.’
‘With this course and the community-focused qualification available at King’s College Hospital it is safe to say that King’s Health Partners, our joint Academic Health Sciences Centre, is leading the UK in terms of special care dentistry.”
Special Care consultant Carole Boyle said: ‘It was a competitive process to get on to the training programme and the MSc course and we are delighted with the four students who have been selected. Until now training in this field has not been formalised, and future specialists will benefit from a wider base of training and experience. This will improve standards in special care dentistry, and give patients better treatment.’
The four trainees attending the course have been put forward by the Foundation Trusts of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital, Barts and The London NHS Trust, and the Oxford Deanery.