Avoid dental student heartbreak

DH must act now to avert 2013 foundation training fiasco

The Department of Health (DH) must act immediately to avert the possibility of UK dentistry graduates being denied foundation training places (DFT) again in 2013.

That's the warning from the British Dental Association (BDA).

It follows an announcement that the number of applicants invited to take place in the applications process exceeds the estimated number of available training places by almost 200.

Figures published by the UK Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors (COPDEND) last week (26 October 2012) confirm that 1,139 applicants will be competing for the estimated 952 funded training places in NHS practices that will be available.

1,026 of the applicants are current students at, or recent graduates from, UK dental schools.

Dr Judith Husband, BDA Chair of Ethics, Education and the Dental Committee, said: 'COPDEND’s announcement raises the spectre of another year of heartbreak for dental students and squandered public money. Denying UK graduates who want to undertake foundation training a place serves the interests of neither patients, taxpayers nor the graduates themselves.

‘The Department of Health must consider this an early warning and act now to ensure that 2013 does not see a repeat of the senseless situation that has been witnessed this year.’

The announcement by COPDEND follows a recent admission by the DH that 35 UK graduates were not allocated DFT places in 2012. That news drew heavy criticism from Dr Husband. The importance of graduates being allocated places was also highlighted in the recently published YDC Asks mini-manifesto for young dentists and prompted a government e-petition to be founded by BDA Young Dentists Committee Chair Dr Martin Nimmo.

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