Anish Patel voices his opinion on the ARF hike.
30 October was an anticipated date in all dental professionals’ calendars; waiting for news on the annual retention fee (ARF) increase. Dentists were the subjects of an aggressive increase to £890, while dental care professionals experienced a more pleasant decrease to £116.
It is well renowned that dentistry is amongst one of the most competitive and demanding courses within the UK, and so dental students are naturally regularly under pressure. Constant coverage of battles between the body that is likely to represent them in the future (the BDA), with the body that regulates them (the General Dental Council (GDC)), over matters such as the ARF, can be unnerving. With a less certain future compared with their predecessors, and such increasing costs of registration, entering dentistry as a profession can often feel daunting for a student.
The GDC’s justification of the ARF hike due to the increase in fitness to practice reports received over the last three years, is daunting and intimidating for a dental student entering into dentistry.
For what was once considered a well-united and integrated profession, there appears to be considerable fragmentation. Although, students often have little representation and control over such matters ahead of them, I still feel a sense of optimism is key in moving forwards. Dentistry has been considered a prestigious profession for a long time and as a student I feel proud to be a part of it.
However, with changes in the industry such as the GDC’s ARF increase, and new dental contracts imminent, there is a drive to try and differentiate yourself as student. Whether that is through specialty training, alternative branches of dentistry or even taking the steps to distinguish yourself individually, making the most of your time at dental school to prepare for your later career is fundamental.