The new system for recruiting Dental Foundation Trainees is a disgrace, putting final year students through examinations that are without test and trial is at best ill judged. Yet again a patrician attitude of “we know best” is obvious to see. For one sixth of all final year students to be put in a position that they will not be able to get a post for at least a year and will this have to twiddle their thumbs before joining the cattle market again in 12 months.
The final year of a dental course is stressful enough with the Beecher’s Brook of finals looming, now this fiasco has added to the worry for undergraduates and their families. Put yourself in the position of the parents who cannot understand how their son or daughter has spent 5 years studying, may well have never failed an examination and been a model student yet will not be able to work as a dentist on graduation. “So you’re good enough to graduate, good enough to be FULLY registered with the GDC, but not good enough to treat patients for the NHS?”
Adding insult to injury is the rule that a dental graduate must commence Foundation Training within 18 months of graduation in order to work in the NHS. Yet another bit of dabbling by academics and DoH that further reduce their credibility. Perhaps the next stage will be for the corporates to take new graduates straight in to the UDA sausage machine and brainwash them that this is the only way of working. How long before a university accepts sponsorship so that we see the ADP/IDH school of “NHS” dentistry?
Everyone involved with this from the CDO “down” should, in the words of Mark Kermode, “be thoroughly ashamed of themselves”.
Despite widespread criticism of the new dental foundation recruitment exercise, Chris Franklin Professor COPDEND Chair says he was very pleased with how well the process had gone. Of the 1109 students who attended interviews, 182 (16.4%) were unsuccessful and even if they graduate this year, may never be able to work as a dentist in the NHS. Professor Franklin said he understood that the uncertainty caused may be ‘unsettling’.
GDPUK understands that the DF year is also viewed internationally as part of the qualification process for UK dental graduates, and the lack of this training place will affect the long term careers of young unemployed graduates.
At the end of the first phase of nationally co-ordinated recruitment to Dental Foundation (Vocational) Training in England and Wales, 83% of candidates have already been offered places on training schemes commencing in 2012.
There were 1,190 applications made online and of these, 1,145 eligible candidates, including 97 from European Dental Schools were invited to one of five selection centres held across England. In November 2011, 1,109 candidates attended these assessments and interviews.
There were 927 places available and all were allocated within a week of offers being made. Individual Deaneries will be allocating these successful applicants to individual training practices over the next few months. Further training places are expected to become available later in the year and 133 candidates on a reserve list will be notified about these after 2012 BDS final examinations are concluded. This leaves 49 with no hope of being placed this year.
Professor Chris Franklin Chair of COPDEND said, “I am very pleased with how well this process has gone and would like to congratulate all those who have been offered a place in the first round. I do understand that the uncertainty may be unsettling for those who are still waiting to hear about a training place and would encourage those at Dental School to concentrate now on preparing for final examinations. In previous years, most students didn’t know where they would be training until much nearer the start of the programme”.
Recently, Chief Dental Officer at the Department of Health Dr Barry Cockcroft assured GDPUK there would be no newly qualified dentists unemployed after the 2012 final exams.
However, this whole selection process has been widely condemned among dentists and students, not least through the GDPUK forums and the Facebook group.
Amongst reports to GDPUK are that, for example, 20 final year students at Cardiff Dental School, about 30% of the final year, have not been allocated places in this scheme. These students have already passed the written part of their final examinations. Their university has already started to advise them as to how to spend the next year before re-applying again for the 2013 process. Under present regulations, these graduates may only re-apply one more time.
Questions asked include what will happen to unemployed future graduates, who because the system has not provided enough places, may have their careers affected immensely.
Other issues raised concern the number of EU applicants (97applied) and how many of these were given places, at the expense of English graduates, who have been trained at the expense of the UK taxpayer. Many have asked for an analysis of EU applicants, where they were from and how many were given places. It has also been noted that EU graduates can work in NHS without a VT number, but English graduates cannot, so there is therefore discrimination by our own authorities against our own dental graduates.
Such rules were described by Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for the internal market and services as a myth. He said that EU rules required the UK to employ European doctors and nurses without proof that their medical skills and English are up to scratch. ‘This is not the case and never has been’, he declared. Although his article was concerned with the reading skills of EU medical practitioners it could equally apply to the suitability of EU dentists.