NHS Education for Scotland is committed to providing vocational training for dental hygienists and therapists in Scotland, currently on a non-mandatory basis.
A vocational training scheme for hygienists/therapists has been in place for some time, and has been taken up by cohorts of students from the teaching groups at the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
In order to develop the scheme, and with the progression to three-year BSc ordinary and four-year honours degree programmes at four schools, including the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow Caledonian and UHI, a new pilot programme using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) began in September 2012, with seven places across Scotland.
Up to 15 places on the Hygiene/Therapy Vocational Training (HTVT) Programme will be offered for the year commencing August 2013, and the application process for trainers is open until January 2013.
The HTVTs registered with the programme this year are working in either the general or salaried dental services, in Fort William, Perth, Glenrothes, Kirkccaldy, Bathgate and Glasgow. The VTs include graduates from UHI, Dundee, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
NES provides funding for six sessions (including one study session) per week at Agenda for Change Band 5, and a training grant and LEP allowance are available to GDPs working as trainers within the scheme.
The HTVTs work under the direction of a dentist, to a set treatment plan. Trainers therefore act as mentors, and are asked to meet their HTVT for tutorial teaching for two hours per month, as well as offering support and guidance for clinical care.
Formal teaching is also provided by NES using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) on the Knowledge Network, and 10 face-to-face study days held at venues across the country. A group of invited speakers are contributing to these days, and have given valuable contributions to the resource base of the course.
Subjects for study days include: restorative dentistry; periodontology; paediatric dentistry; management and teamwork; smoking cessation; radiology; medical emergencies and CPR; cross infection; health and safety; career planning; audit and research; clinical governance; clinical photography.
All learning materials used on the study days are available on the VLE, so that HTVTs and their trainers can review these throughout the course.
The VLE has proved popular with trainers and HTVTs alike, allowing contact across the wide geography of the country. As well as pages for each teaching module, the users can link into the Resource Library of the Knowledge Network, and have direct access to the NES Dental Portal and SDCEP.
There is a discussion board, blog, WIKI areas and dedicated web pages that have been set up for trainers to discuss the programme among themselves and for HTVTs to chat and exchange ideas.
The assessment of training has been set up in a similar way to that of the established dental VT. A programme of 26 internal and four external LEPs are completed over three blocks, and in conjunction with these, clinical case presentations are prepared by the HTVTs on cases completed in restorative dentistry, periodontology, paediatric dentistry and smoking cessation.
These case presentations are available in PDF form on the website, and are formally assessed at the external LEPs.
The test of knowledge, PAQs, equality and diversity training and medical emergencies and life support are also completed during the year.
Use of the VLE provides all the information required to complete the various assessments, and is proving to be of great benefit to the programme.
NES welcomes applications from dentists who wish to participate in the HTVT programme. Prospective candidates should have completed the START course, but can apply to do so during the next year.
Further information and application forms are available at http://bit.ly/VTinfo
Practitioners interested in becoming a trainer can contact training advisor Dr Isobel Madden at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness.
Tel: 01463 255 719