​Shortfall of Dental Foundation Training places a disgrace

5 August 2016

The British Dental Association (BDA) has condemned the likely shortage of Dental Foundation Training (DFT) places this September. 

This shortfall – anticipated to be in the region of 14 places – has become apparent as the second round of place allocations draws to a close and applicants are being informed that they are now unlikely to receive a place. The process formally closes towards the end of this month. 

Over 30 individuals were affected in both 2012 and 2013. Following pressure from the BDA no eligible graduates went without a place in 2014 and 2015.

The BDA alerted the incoming Chief Dental Officer for England of the risks as early as September 2015 to ensure that the success stories of 2014 and 2015 could be repeated. The BDA is now urging Health Education England and the Department of Health to use the month of August to secure additional funding.

DFT continues to be underfunded despite monies apparently being made available for medical colleagues – even though shortages in applications to medical schools and to medical specialist training persist.

Judith Husband, Chair of the BDA's Education, Ethics and the Dental Team Working Group, said: 

"A knowing failure on the part of Health Education England and the Department of Health to provide adequate funding risks leaving qualified graduates without training places. 

"For these young dentists, missing out on a training place is a tragedy. It means charting an uncertain path at the start of their careers, with huge student debts looming over them. For the taxpayer, it means squandering over £150,000 in training, and loss of access to qualified NHS professionals for years to come. 

"This shortfall shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone. The powers that be have known since January 2016 what the maximum number of necessary training places would be. Before the end of August they must refocus their efforts and ensure young dentists who want to provide NHS care are not disqualified from caring for NHS patients."

About the BDA

The British Dental Association (BDA) is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the UK. It represents dentists working in general practice, in community and hospital settings, in academia and research, and in the armed forces, and includes dental students. The BDA promotes members’ interests, advances the science, arts and ethics of dentistry, and contributes towards improving the nation's oral health.

For further information, please contact the BDA's media team on 0207 563 4145/46 or visit the BDA's news centre. You can also follow news from the BDA on Twitter. Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.