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Agenda item

Update - University of Bristol new Dental School (4.50 - 5.25 pm)

- Barry Main, Head of School, University of Bristol Dental School will present an update on the new purpose-built University of Bristol Dental School, due to open later in 2023.  This will be followed by an opportunity for member questions.


The Committee received and discussed a presentation from Barry Main, Head of School, University of Bristol Dental School and James Tubman, Senior School Manager, University of Bristol Dental School.


Summary of main points raised:


1. The key areas covered by the presentation were:

a. The University of Bristol was funded to train dentists and dental hygienists/therapists.

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust received funding to provide clinical placements.


b. The Bristol Dental School was moving this year to a ‘state-of-the-art’ clinical facility at Trinity Quay, adjacent to Temple Quarter.


c. As part of the move, the opportunity was being taken to promote primary dental care and to enhance community engagement, widening participation and outreach, and to take research into the community.  This aligned with the University of Bristol’s wider vision and strategy and sought to recognise the needs of communities.


d. An example of the approach to community engagement was a recent care home pilot launched in February 2023.  This had involved 76 dental students working across 10 care homes in delivering oral health training to care home staff.  Initial feedback on the pilot from care home staff had been very encouraging.  Engagement work had also taken place with the Wellspring Settlement and Bristol Somali Women’s Group.


e. The new dental school presented the opportunity to enhance wider employment and training opportunities; this included a range of opportunities through a dental nurse learning programme, aiming to upskill dental nurses in partnership with local practices.


2. The Chair particularly welcomed the community engagement and wider training opportunities that were being taken forward by the dental school.


3. In terms of retention of dental school students once their training had been completed, it was noted that currently approx. 45% of the school’s newly qualified dentists were retained in the south-west region.  One option being looked at to encourage retention was the offer of a year’s supervised practice where this was feasible.


4. In line with the University of Bristol’s wider learning/community strategy, efforts were ongoing to increase the local intake of dental students and widen participation; in the last year, just over 20% of the dental school’s intake of students had come through one of the university’s widening participation programmes.  Most students would undertake foundation training to prepare for work in a dental practice.


5. In terms of actual dental care that would be provided through the new dental hospital, patient recruitment pathways were being finalised.  Student dentists would be supervised closely as they carried out treatments and patients needed to be aware that certain dental procedures would take longer to carry out than via the standard dental care route.  The training facilities would include an urgent care clinic; there would also be an opportunity for patients to self-refer for assessment and there would not be any geographical limit in terms of accepting patients who were willing to travel.


6. Further to the care home oral health training pilot, the dental school was keen to further develop opportunities for community oral health outreach and engagement. 


At the conclusion, of the discussion, the Chair thanked Barry Main and James Tubman for attending for this item.


The Committee RESOLVED:

- To note the above update and information.