The government has announced plans to stop dental hygiene and therapy students of an NHS bursary.
Dental therapists, hygienists, nurses, midwives and other Allied Health Professionals are funded through the NHS scheme, which offers living cost and student tuition fee support, however the government have plans to replace this with full student loans from September 2017.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has slammed the idea claiming it would deter students from less privileged backgrounds undertaking the degree.
‘The abolition of the NHS bursary is bad news for dentistry and for all dental professionals,’ Paul Blaylock, chair of the BDA’s Students Committee, said.
‘Dental hygienists and therapists are instrumental in delivering treatment, prevention and healthcare education to patients.
‘The government says prevention and public health require a “radical upgrade”, yet this cut is an entirely retrograde step, that would deliver no savings and simply serve to undermine dental teams.
‘Dentists stand with all our healthcare colleagues in opposition to a cut that could jeopardise patient care, and exclude talented people from the health professions simply because they lack the means.’
NHS Five Year Forward View
The BDA has claimed that this move could threaten the delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View.
It has joined with leaders from 19 other health care trade unions, charities and professional colleges to call on the government to halt the plans to reform student funding.
At present over 2,500 dental therapists and over 6,500 hygienists are registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) and the BDA believes these reforms will be extended to funding systems for student medics and dentists.