In the UK newly qualified dentists are advised to obtain as wide an experience in all aspects of dentistry before considering further study or specialist training. This experience should, if possible include general dentistry in addition to working possibly in a junior hospital appointment or the salaried dental service.
Vocational training (VT) has been considered a part of general professional training (GPT), which is undertaken in the two years following graduation from dental school and obtaining a primary dental degree. GPT is a broad-based clinical experience in NHS dentistry. It may include experience in general practice, the community dental service (salaried services) and hospital dentistry. The two years spent in GPT helps to prepare young dentists for examinations such as the MFDS or MJDF and for careers in primary dental care or specialist training.
During vocational training, one year is spent in an approved dental practice with a trainer, who is an experienced dental practitioner.
Dr Esmail Harunani and Dr Murtaza Kanani have both been selected to be a vocational dental practitioner trainers by the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Deanery at the Riverview Dental Centre and Eastbourne Dental Care respectively.
VT is also important because in order to be on an NHS Primary Care Trust dental list as a ‘performer’ a dentist must have either a VT number, or show they have received experience or training equivalent to VT or be exempt from VT.
Further information can be found from your local Postgraduate Dental Deanery. Details can be found at: www.copdend.org.uk.
Vocational Training Equivalence
At present VT posts are in huge demand, as over the last few years the number of VT places has only been slightly more than the number of dentists graduating from UK dental schools. Given the additional overseas trained dentists passing the IQE/ORE examinations, it is evident that there are not enough VT training posts to accommodate all dentists wishing to take up one of these posts.
Overseas qualified dentists will have already been alerted to this fact by the warning on the GDC website that passing the ORE does not guarantee a job in the NHS and the notice on the NACPDE website advising how difficult it is now to find employment in the NHS.
Equivalence is decided by PCTs in collaboration with postgraduate dental deaneries.
Those dentists who have not completed Vocational Training, or who are not exempt from vocational training, will need to demonstrate equivalence to VT training.
Some dentists may be able to obtain equivalence by undergoing a period of supervised vocational training while they demonstrate or acquire further competencies or experience. This period of training is determined by the Postgraduate Deanery and can be undertaken within an appropriate workplace.
Dr Esmail Harunani and Dr Murtaza Kanani are both VT Equivalence trainers of overseas trained dentists, who have passed the IQE/ORE examinations respectively, at the Forest Hill Dental Surgery and Eastbourne Dental Care respectively.