Dental students in Scotland to receive bursaries in face of delayed graduation
Bursaries will be offered to struggling dental students in Scotland in response to COVID-19 disruptions.
Calls were made to help dental undergraduates who may have to repeat a year due to the pandemic.
The Scottish government has agreed that a bursary of up to £6,750 will be offered to students at Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow dental schools. These have all decided to defer graduation due to the lack of clinical contacts in the last 12 months.
Support with also continue for trainers and trainees operating in NHS practices.
The British Dental Association (BDA) welcomed the move. This follows a letter it sent to the government in Scotland at the beginning of February.
Addressed to Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman, and deputy first minister and cabinet secretary for educations and skills John Swinney, it urged for action in a bid to avoid further debt.
As it currently stands, dental students in Scotland are set to graduate with debts exceeding £34,000.
Widen oral health inequalities
David McColl is chair of the British Dental Association’s Scottish dental practice committee. He said: ‘This is the leadership we’ve needed from the Scottish government.
‘No one wanted graduations to be deferred. But now the next generation of dentists have real certainty, support and protection from what would have been eye-watering levels of debt.
‘It’s inevitable that COVID will widen oral health inequalities that have long blighted Scotland.
‘We can draw some comfort that ministers have helped secure the pipeline of new talent we’ll need to meet these challenges.’
Additionally, the BDA is calling for extra funding to help mitigate the financial losses experienced by dental schools.
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