Parliamentarians focus on dental education and research

10 March 2011

A visit today to King’s College London Dental Institute (KCLDI) has highlighted to Parliamentarians the role played by the UK’s dental schools.

A visit by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry allowed a group of MPs and Peers to see the work of a busy dental school, including its research, teaching and clinical activities. Guests were able to visit KCLDI’s craniofacial development and stem cell research laboratories, tour facilities for the care of vulnerable and anxious patients, and see the state-of-the-art hapTEL technology used in teaching students. The visit was led by Professor Nairn Wilson, Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Dean and Head of KCLDI.

Parliamentarians learnt about the evolution of dental academia, including the opening of new dental schools, expansion of student numbers and the contribution many general dental practitioners are playing in educating dental students. The development of shorter courses for graduates from related disciplines and the development of training for dental care professionals were also highlighted.

UK institutions’ eminence in dental research was also on the agenda, with the relationship between quality and continued funding and the breadth of research being carried out explained. The increasing links with industry that are helping to deliver millions of pounds of income were also emphasised.

The Parliamentarians also heard from Lauren Holmes, the President of the institution’s Dental Society and a fourth-year student. She highlighted the experience of dental students and stressed the importance of the reforms currently being undertaken in dentistry engaging the next generation of practitioners who will deliver care in the system that is created.

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