Is it time to make dental students who don't want to work in the NHS pay for their own training ?

The BBC highlights a report by Dundee University that shows that only a small proportion of Dental Students want to do NHS work, with the vast majority wanting to concentrate on private medical work, which pays vastly more.

The question for me to ask here is whether the state is paying too much to train dentists who have no intention of repaying their debt to the state that helped fund and provide their training.

I assume that dental students pay top up fees, but this suggests that this is a top up to the amount that the state contributes towards their education. If they are not going to make a commitment to the NHS, for at least a period of time, shouldn't the state have the option to withdraw funding from them and instead use this money to fully fund, without top up fees, dental students who want to work for the NHS ?

Dental students are, in my opinion, an odd bunch anyway. Nobody goes in to dentistry through love of teeth. It is clearly a career based around making as much money as possible. Some people suggest that dentistry is similar to being a doctor. I disagree strongly with this view. Doctors save lives. they also make a commitment to work in the NHS. Unless dentists are prepare to do the same, their training should be changed and incentivized to make them work in and for the NHS.


jailhouselawyer said...

I think you raise a valid point here. Trying to find a dentist now who will undertake NHS work is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I'm waiting to be pounced on by the free marketeers who will say this is part of a healthy economy and that we shouldn't subsidise things for poor people.

Every time I raise point like this someone accuses me of being illiberal, so it's nice to start with a positive comment. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The logic of this is make all lawyers work for the state and ban teachers from working in private schools etc etc. The real answer is to make working in the NHS more attractive. It is not a matter of money. Inland revenue data shows the incomes of private and NHS dentists are very similar. The difference in the private sector is you make the same income seeing 20 patients a day rather than 60 a day working in the NHS.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that there is a shortage of teachers or lawayers around, that is the difference.