Credit: Credit: GG Photography and Illustrations Manager Allison Campbell

Dentistry students required to repeat an academic year

By Ross McCool

Dental students will be subsidised with a bursary of up to £6,750 to cover the costs of this decision.

All Scottish dental students will be forced to repeat a year of their studies because of the

interruption of practical teaching due to Covid-19. This affects all dental students at the universities of Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen. The final year graduation is to be deferred to the summer of 2022 in both Glasgow and Dundee, with Aberdeen students hoping to graduate this Christmas. All other students must resit the 2020/21 academic year. The Scottish government has announced a bursary of £6,750 per student to cover the cost of this decision.

This change follows students having received insufficient practice of aerosol-generating procedures, initially due to the increased risk of Covid-19 transmission through aerosol particles. Although the dental school has started the process of fitting students for FFP3 masks, which are designed to protect against aerosol transmission of the virus, many students have lost significant time in clinical placement. Industry insiders have welcomed this funding from the Scottish government to curb dental student debt that would be increased due to their extended training.

One fourth year dental student commented: “Obviously it’s not at all ideal and the financial side of things is a concern for all of us, however, I do think that it’s the right decision, practically speaking. With an extra year to make up for our lost clinical experience, I’ll definitely feel more confident about my training and level of experience on graduating.”

Scottish dental students can expect to pay £34,000 for their degree, with the cost of resitting upping it to more than £40,000. The British Dental Association (BDA) called on the government earlier this month to step-in and assist students, stating that additional costs at no fault of students would be grossly unacceptable.

Jeane Freeman, the Scottish government’s health secretary, commented upon the announcement: “Today’s decision is a tough one, there’s no denying that, but it’s about giving dental students the experience that’s been denied to them this year because of the pandemic.”


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