I told you January was interesting …
First we have a BDA EGM on the cards. Anyone who reads tea leaves must be thinking Friday 21st of February is the new Ides of March. While the BDA turns in on itself in what some might see as a death roll, the world moves on and, boy, how fast!
The DFT numbers have been formally announced – see the link – and the big picture? 1 in 5 students have not got a job to look forward to – nice motivation if you can get it – NOT! Approximately 240 out the UK Graduate bag of about 1100 have been ‘placed on a “Reserve List” I say approximately – the numbers are not entirely clear even if the big picture is. What’s that – about 10% in the end? well, give or take.
Have we all been witness to a Coup d’Etat in dentistry – CoPDenD have quietly become the most influential body in dentistry. If you are a student on the receiving end, it must feel like a very unfair and cruel arbitrary selection process.
You know what sucks? It is clear that CoPDenD would have you believe that the NHS and it’s public funding is the only kid on the block. They saw off Private Vocational Training and now have a monopoly grip on the peri-graduation phase of ones career. Is it me or does CoPDenD have a funny smell around it?
The size of the private dental market is now likely bigger than all of the NHS dental funding for dental care, both primary and secondary.
So why is there not a flourishing private-public partnership in dentistry in which the shortfalls of NHS funded DFT are more than taken up by a commercial organisation? If ever an opportunity for the FGDP to do something practical ever has been missed this must be it. I’ll bet if SERCO or Compass were bidding, Private VT would be up and running by now.
And now ... midway though a Manpower Review at the Higher Education Funding body… the word on the block is that a blanket 10% student cut across the board has been enacted with immediate effect. The Twittersphere is lighting up this week as the well hinted cuts are finally publicised.
Perversely, that actually sounds like some form of a solution. Fewer graduating dentists are an inevitable consequence of reduced Government funding. Since we all know the Government IS broke, maybe this 10% cut will be in ADDITION to the chopping of two dental schools, which is being widely trawled.
That will in 2 years mean a broad reduction of about 270 students per annum - job done, CoPDenD’s DFT books balanced.
But where is the drive to use the vibrant private market to create educational opportunities which support and supplement the NHS funded basic training? Lots of willing weekenders but no structure.
In its small way, dentistry is now witnessing the effects of lack of public funding. If the profession of dentistry is a thermometer for public finances, the mercury is falling. So be it. Can’t spend what we don’t have. It is not entirely unexpected after all
But there is a £7Bn, and growing, private market for dentistry. In fact, year on year growth of 10% and more is anticipated.
There has to be a better way. The big picture of publicly funded dentistry is gaining a degree of focus. We need to ensure that private dentistry builds its own big picture, and fast.
How? By whom?
Questions a’plenty. Answers on a postcard please! If 10% of you reply…
See you soon people. How much more news can there be?