Video: Introduction to Specialty Training
Ian Sharp: My name is Ian Sharp. I'm the associate dental postgraduate dean with responsibility across Midlands and East, that is West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England. I look after specialty trainees that we have in the various dental specialties across that patch.
Dental Specialty Training is a series of different programmes across the 13 dental specialties which typically will take people from the end of their Core Training years through a process of 3 to 5 years of further refinement. Some of those people will end their training at 3 years, they'll be a specialist, and some will do further training for another 2 years, up to a total of 5, and usually that will end with consultant appointment.
There are 13 specialist lists which are recognised by the GDC and depending on where you are in the country there are different programmes. For example, in the Midlands and East, the training programmes include Orthodontics, Restorative Dentistry, Special Care Dentistry, Dental Public Health, Oral Surgery, or Maxillofacial Pathology.
The traditional way that most trainees have, and indeed still do, access Specialty Training is after 3 or 4 years of postgraduate training. They will have done their Foundation Training and then 2 to 3 years of Core Training. Increasingly we're finding that people who have been out in practice for a while are choosing to return; and with the flexibility of training pathways we are starting to see much more of that than we ever did in the past. The type of training will vary in its duration, it will vary in terms of its content obviously by specialty, but it would also vary in terms of the location of its delivery. I think that's quite important because again certain types of training location perhaps appeal more to certain trainees.
For each of the specialty areas there is a curriculum, and the curriculum clearly includes the syllabus in terms of the knowledge and skills that they need to learn and acquire but it also outlines the assessment processes and other aspects in terms of support for study leave, for additional courses, for additional training and so on.
The structures and processes around training are quite important and we have a line management structure that goes down and reaches into the training units and ends with the educational supervisor or the clinical supervisor; that will typically be a more senior dentist who is experienced or is a specialist and who will guide the individual trainee. We then monitor that progress of the trainee through a series of reviews that will check that the competencies the trainee is acquiring are being met. It's not about time served it's about skills and knowledge acquired.
When a trainee has completed Specialty Training the specialist can work in a hospital, but they can also work in a specialist practice. For example, Orthodontics or in Oral Surgery delivering an aspect of higher-level oral surgical care in community or in practice. Trainees that choose to go further up to 5 years typically will end up usually in consultant practice and depending on what specialty they are in that may be tied into a dental hospital. For example, Oral Medicine tends to be very much based in dental hospitals, whereas a specialty like Orthodontics there's a network across district general hospitals and dental hospitals as there is for Restorative Dentistry.
Media last reviewed: 30 November 2021