New dentistry degree at Plymouth University

In all, 64 students have enrolled for dentistry, which represents 100% capacity for the course.

The new joiners include students who have already chalked up impressive achievements: involvement with health care projects overseas; caring for poorly relatives; working with disabled children; volunteering in the community; even a career in modelling.

The intake includes a healthy number of students from South West schools and colleges, and the course also welcomes its first twin sisters.

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry builds on previous dental training success and is now a five-year A-level entry course.

Dental students will experience innovative and effective training which will see them interact with NHS patients from a very stage.

The students will begin their clinical training in the University’s Simulated Dental Learning Environment before treating NHS patients under the supervision of qualified dentists and other dental professionals and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry’s Dental Education Facilities (DEFs) in Exeter, Plymouth and Truro.

The DEF programme has already made a significant and positive impact on oral health improvement in the region, giving more than 13,000 patients access to NHS dental care where they may not have received it before.

It has blazed a trail in dental clinical education by being the first to train dental students in a primary care environment, and it is fast becoming adopted as the way forward by other dental educators in the UK.

Students will also benefit from interaction with the new Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, an umbrella organisation for the DEFs and for Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry’s community involvement activity.

Its community development team is active in promoting oral health improvement and helping to address oral health inequalities in the region. It is also active in facilitating special study units for students, which see students go out into the community and address issues of oral health care and oral health inequalities by working with a wide range of groups, from primary school pupils to care homes, substance abusers and the homeless.

Training is supported by teaching from leading academics and clinicians throughout the region, and via access to world leading dental research.

Professor Wendy Purcell, vice-chancellor at Plymouth University, said: 'We are extremely proud of our new schools of medicine and dentistry and the way we are transforming lives through education and research.  I am delighted to welcome  our new medical and dental students to the University and  wish them well with their studies and careers ahead Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry is a key element of our commitment to training health professionals who combine the best of clinical knowledge and practice with empathy for their patients.  I would like to express my sincere thanks to all my staff and our healthcare partners who have worked tirelessly to make our vision a reality.  We are committed to addressing health inequalities in our region and further afield, combining  education and social impact.'

Professor Robert Sneyd, dean of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, said: 'We are delighted to welcome our first students, each of whom has shown themselves to be remarkable individuals, capable of great achievements and equipped with the wherewithal to come through our rigorous selection process. Every single one has earned their place with us and we are looking forward to working with them on a mutual journey of discovery, knowledge and experience as we take forward our medical and dental courses to create the doctors and dentists of tomorrow.'

He added: 'We are committed to three core aims: exceptional clinical learning; strong social engagement; and world class research. While our students are with us, those core aims will feature strongly in their learning experience with associated positive impacts on the health and wellbeing of people in the communities within which we sit. This is not just good news for us and our new cohorts of students: it is good news for the region and the future of medical and dental training.'

• Photo: Professor Wendy Purcell, vice chancellor at Plymouth University, on a recent visit to the Derriford Dental Education Facility at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry

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