Dental Foundation Training (DFT) places must be found for the 107 UK final-year students and graduates who have applied for, but not yet been allocated, positions this year, the British Dental Association (BDA) is warning. The Association is arguing that sufficient places must be available by the time a second round of allocations takes place in the summer.
The BDA’s Chair of Ethics, Education and the Dental Team, Dr Judith Husband, has written to the Department of Health reiterating both the loss to the public purse and tragic personal consequences for aspiring young practitioners if places are not found. The significant number of unplaced individuals was highlighted by the publication of applications and allocations statistics by the Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors last month.
The BDA is campaigning on this issue for the third year in succession, with concerns about a shortfall in available places having previously arisen in 2012 and 2013. In those years 35 and 38 candidates respectively were left without places. Following BDA campaigning, which saw the Association’s Young Dentists’ Committee launch a Government e-petition signed by more than 3,800 supporters, the selection criteria were augmented to include the necessity of a candidate completing foundation training in order to practise in the NHS.
Dr Judith Husband, the BDA’s Chair of Ethics, Education and the Dental Team, said:
The changed criteria for the selection of DFT applicants was a common sense move that recognised the importance of UK graduates being allocated places, as it is a prerequisite for them for practising in the NHS.
“Before the summer round of allocations there must be a concerted effort from the Department of Health and Health Education England (HEE) to make available the funding and create the places to ensure that the 107 UK candidates on the waiting list are also able to take the next step in their professional lives.