25 Feb

Dental admissions put on hold as Scottish university students have to repeat a year

Dental admissions have been put on hold in Scotland following confirmation that existing students will have to repeat a year.

Scottish dental schools will not be admitting new students onto courses starting in September 2021 as a result of students having to redo the academic year. It was announced recently that students would have to undergo an additional year of training because they have been unable to complete sufficient training and tuition in aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) this year due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

Final year students have had their graduations postponed and all other dental students have been advised that they will need to repeat the year. 

A spokesperson for Universities Scotland explained that dentistry had been hit particularly hard by the crisis due to the suspension of services and the inability to learn practical skills virtually. Clinical training has been heavily restricted as a result of the risk of spreading the virus through droplets generated by aerosol procedures, meaning that dental students have missed out on large chunks that are valuable to their training and development.

Applicants for dental courses will still receive a decision by May 20th 2021, but offers will be valid for the programme in the academic year commencing September 2022. 

The news will come as a blow for students who were hoping to be accepted onto courses this year, but dental schools have said that it wouldn’t be right for students to continue without undertaking the training they require to carry out aerosol procedures safely.

These procedures are used commonly in dentistry and they involve using high-speed instruments, which can cause droplets to be released into the air. While some elements of dental education have moved online, there is no suitable replacement for this kind of clinical training and this is why universities have taken the decision to repeat the year for dental students.