|Monday, 10 January 2011|
Over the last year the Dental Faculty has been reviewing the provision of dental education as part of the main College review of education. The Dental Faculty has always provided a good portfolio of educational activity to support its Fellows, Members and Diplomats, as well as preparatory courses for College examinations. However, with increasing demands and competition it is essential that this activity is increased and improved.
The eponymous lectures (Guy, McNeil and King James IV Professorship lectures) are important in the maintenance of tradition and promotion of the Faculty.
An annual symposium is held in the autumn and linked with the meeting of Dental Council and the meeting of Regional Advisers. An advanced Dental Symposium is also organised by this College every other year, alternating with RCPS Glasgow. It has also been held in the regions and in association with other professional organisations.
"Activities that are linked with other events or with a national or international meetings should be more convenient for members and reach a wider audience"
The annual conference for Dental Care Professionals (DCP) is very popular, attracting a high number of enthusiastic participants. There should be good future demand and organisers of this event have been very pro-active.
Regrettably, it has been decided to close the Bowden Clinical skills laboratory. This was a difficult decision as this is an excellent facility, established in 2007 with the generous bequest of the Bowden family. Hands-on courses are popular, but competition from NHS Education for Scotland, who fund widely available hands-on courses at little or no cost and the limited number of specialists and specialist trainees in Scotland, severely limited the viability of this under-utilised facility.
Although most of the educational events will be delivered in Edinburgh, it is planned to hold more regional and overseas events. Activities that are linked with other Faculty events or with a national or international meetings should be more convenient for members and reach a wider audience. There could also be a development of web-based material for Fellows and Members, including webcasts of symposia and eponymous lectures.
The development of the main symposia is central to this plan. The most successful formula is likely to be one involving internationally acclaimed speakers with a programme that can attract high numbers of delegates as well as commercial sponsorship. We have had good experience of this in the last few years and see this as a high future priority. The DCP symposia are likely to increase to two per year – one in Edinburgh and one in the regions.
Courses in preparation for College examinations are run mostly overseas, but proposals have been made to run them more frequently at the College and to target them towards UK trainees. It has been recommended that a more comprehensive programme of exams preparation courses is put in place.
Although we will no longer have our own clinical skills facility, we intend to use this highly attractive format within many of the courses we offer. Some hands on courses that require only bench top facilities can still be provided within the College. The relatively few courses that require clinical simulators can be run in any of the excellent regional facilities, thereby fulfilling our desire to provide more activity outside Edinburgh.
The current structure of the Dental Faculty and its Specialty Advisory Boards (SABs) may need to change to ensure the growth of educational activity. The work of the SABs has a focus on their examinations and no one board has an easy overview of the education provided across the Faculty. So it has been agreed to establish a Dental Postgraduate Education Committee as a sub-committee of Dental Council and to have working relationships with the Advisory Boards and College Examinations.
The success of the development of future dental education courses requires engagement of the Fellows, Members, and Diplomats through attendance, promotion and generation of new ideas. The Dental Faculty would be delighted to receive suggestions for future courses.