The total number of full-time clinical academics employed in UK dental schools has increased by 40% since 2004.
Workforce figures from the Dental Schools Council (DSC) show a 2.2% increase in full-time clinical academic staff over the past year.
Despite the rise more than two-thirds of dental schools experience difficulties recruiting in one or more specialties.
‘The continued increase in the number of clinical academic staff is a testament to the work that has been done, particularly by dental schools, to showcase the benefit clinical academia brings to UK dental care,’ Professor Chris Deery, chair of the DSC, says.
‘As this year’s data highlights, there is clearly much more left to do, especially in regard to filling vacancies.
‘We are all too aware of the pressures on our health service and we need these talented individuals in roles that lead the way to more efficient and effective healthcare.’
Drop in research posts
Dental schools are increasingly reliant on part-time staff, making up 59% of the workforce, an increase of 2% since 2013.
The figures also show an increasing number of staff in teaching posts over research posts.
The British Dental Association (BDA) claims this could lead to UK dental academia losing its global reputation.
‘The latest figures on the workforce in dental schools show a worrying trend towards employing part-time staff to teach at the expense of research,’ Giles McCracken, chair of the Central Committee for Dental Academic Staff, said.
‘This is incredibly short-sighted and mechanistic and undermines the global reputation that dental schools in the UK have enjoyed till now.
‘Without the capacity for research, UK dental schools will have ongoing problems attracting top-class staff and this will impact upon the future of the profession.
‘Advances in dentistry require ongoing investment in our research talent, not aspirational platitudes.
‘The Dental Schools Council needs to do more to attract the top talent to deliver not just quality teaching but also world-class dental research, and thereby ensure the health of the profession in the long-term.’
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