Another Possible Solution to NHS Dentist Shortage
One of the greatest threats to the UK’s National Health Service is a critical shortage of trained doctors in general – and dentists in particular. In response, the University of Portsmouth has announced an ambitious plan to build an online dental school.
Like much of the country, the Portsmouth area is suffering from a serious shortage of dentists. Within the past year, at least 33 local dentists have quit. Of the area’s 63 dental practices, only three are accepting new patients. “It’s a fantastic, innovative idea. Anything that makes teaching more accessible has got to be a good thing,” said the chairman of the British Dental Association. “My only concern is that about the practical side of learning. That is very important. We can’t train dentists solely over the internet so this project will have to be backed up with hands-on experience.”
Though the university already offers dental education courses, the new school would expand not just the student base but also the dental topics covered. Specialist professors plan to offer training in areas such a dental radiology, oral medicine and pathology. University officials hope the online school could eventually become international in scope, giving dental students across the world access to top-notch specialist education.
The real question we in North America should be asking is: What are OUR dental schools doing to use the Internet to meet the critical shortage of dentists in rural states and provinces?