Queens Belfast dental school under threat

The school of dentistry at Queen’s University in Belfast is at the centre of an official probe over concerns about the level of resources and quality of teaching. The university is at risk of losing the accreditation it requires from the General Dental Council (GDC) to allow it to teach dental students. It comes as Queen’s is having to make £11m in efficiency savings and absorb 200 job losses.

The GDC’s chief executive and registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry, has written to the vice chancellor at Queen’s following concerns about the level of resources being dedicated to teaching dentistry. The GDC, which quality assures the education of dentists across the UK, subsequently carried out an inspection and is due to publish its report within months.

The results of the inspection are not yet known, but it has called into question the standards of teaching on the Queen’s dental course — which was named the top course in the UK just three years ago by the Times Good University Guide.

At the time, Professor Paddy Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen’s, said: “This is a wonderful achievement by my dental colleagues, especially as we drive towards the development of an international research-led dental school in the next few years.”

Jim Wells, deputy chair of the Stormont health committee, said he was disappointed to learn about the inspection. “We don’t know what the findings of the inspection will be but it is extremely worrying that professionals felt the need to raise concerns in the first place,” he added. “This is a blow for the university and hopefully will not result in the closure of the dental |school, which would be an absolute disaster.”


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