After graduation - Vocational Training
Before their names may be included on a Health Authority list, dentists who qualify from a dental school in the UK must complete Vocational Training.
The aims of Vocational Training for the General Dental Services are to meet the needs of unsupervised general dental practice and promote high ethical standards and quality care for patients. Clinical skills learned as an undergraduate are further developed, and the new graduate is introduced to administrative and practice management skills.
New graduates work in general practices and are employed as Vocational Dental Practitioners, (VDPs), by general practitioners who are selected and approved as trainers. Similar arrangements exist in the Community Dental Service (CDS), and the Dental Defence Agency (DDA). The CDS and DDA do not necessarily prepare VDPs for General Dental Service, although the arrangement is that a Vocational Training number is conferred on completion of the year.
VDPs normally work a 28-hour week, are salaried, and additionally meet together on a regular basis, to take part in the required 30 educational study days in the 365 days of the year.
Study days are held on a weekly basis in university terms, or semesters. Outside term time, VDPs spend 35 hours per week in practice or the community.
The Vocational Training curriculum aims to set the ethos for a lifetime of continuing professional development, and create reflective practitioners, who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. It involves VDPs in both in-practice and out-of-practice activity.
The curriculum includes:
- Introduction to practice management
- Clinical skills
- Critical skills and lifelong learning
- Development of practice and business management skills
- Communication skills