RCSI calls for policy that addresses training gaps
New National Oral Health Policy should support continuing education
The Faculty of Dentistry of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has said it would welcome a new National Oral Health Policy from the Department of Health.However, it has also expressed concerns, particularly around the education and training of dentists.
Although the faculty examines approximately 900 students each year, and more than 2,000 of its graduates work in the profession, it says its views have not been sought by the department as it developed the national policy.
The Dean of the Faculty, Dr John Marley, has set out its concerns on training gaps and urges these to be resolved in the department’s policy. These include:
The inadequacy of specialist and consultant training of dentistry in Ireland
The lack of an intern year (foundation year) to support and mentor newly qualified dentists
The lack of mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) for dentists to maintain skills and knowledge.
“Newly Qualified Dentists do not receive the support they need in
their first year”
Dr Marley noted: “We look forward to the new policy addressing fundamental flaws in how we further educate and train dentists in Ireland.
“Currently, our newly qualified dentists do not receive the support and training they need in their first year in practice, while more established dentists do not have sufficient opportunities to keep their skills up to date.”
The faculty urged the department to make a number of elements part of its policy:
Compulsory intern year of foundation training
Adequate resources for specialist and consultant training of dentists across all disciplines – this training, as in medicine, should be funded by the HSE/Department of Health
Compulsory life-long learning and development (CPD) for all dental professionals, in line with medical colleagues.
Dr Marley added: “Ultimately, providing Ireland’s dentists with the best training is about ensuring that patients receive the safest, most efficient and effective care.”