Every dental student, once they graduate, must complete dental foundation training (DFT) if they wish to work in NHS primary dental care. However, it is not always guaranteed there will be a place for every applicant. In previous years, many people have not managed to get the training they need, and have had to put their budding dental careers on hold for a year.
However, 2014 has proven different, as every single applicant was able to get a DFT place this year. This is fantastic news, as it means the nation’s dentists will be better able to train themselves up without having had a year out of practice. However, the British Dental Association (BDA) has warned not to let this become a one-off occurrence.
While all 999 available DFT posts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were filled this year, this has not always been the case. In 2013, 35 graduates were left without a place, while in 2012 there were 38 unlucky people who weren’t able to start their DFT. This year, extra funding has lead to the creation of 33 extra places to accommodate every graduate.
The BDA called this “great news for young dentists and the future of oral health”, however there is reason to be cautious. The process of applying is due to start all over again on Monday (September 1st), with students having to sign up online for DFT places by September 22nd.
“We need to ensure that future dental graduates aren’t left facing another nerve-wracking wait,” said Judith Husband, chair of the BDA’s Education, Ethics and the Dental Team working group. “With a new round of recruitment just around the corner 2014 must not go down in dental history as a ‘one-off’.”
If places aren’t found for dental graduates looking to complete the DFT, it is not just bad for their careers; it is also a drain on public funds. However, this news is still very welcome, and Ms Husband added: “This is fantastic news for young dentists and bodes well for the future of oral health in Britain.”