Working alongside a network of committed partners, the Health Board, Welsh Government, Bangor University, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), All Wales Faculty of Dental Care Professionals (AWFDCP) and providers across BCUHB, the North Wales Dental Academy will provide training, education, & support to all dental care professionals at both undergraduate and post graduate level.

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government is supporting The North Wales Dental Academy project as it is rooted in Welsh government policy objectives:  Oral Health and Dental Services Response –A Healthier Wales and Prudent Health Care. There are a number of general principles, which are to:

  • Improve population health, oral health and well-being through a greater focus on prevention.
  • Improve access, experience and quality of dental care for individuals and families.
  • Enrich the well-being, capability and engagement of the dental workforce; and
  • Increase the value achieved from funding of dental services and programmes through improvement, innovation, use of best practice, and eliminating waste.
  • Patients are empowered to protect and improve their own oral health
  • Oral health and dental services place prevention at their core

Welsh Governments ambitions for the North Wales Dental Academy include:

  • Flagship Contract Reform practice in the North
  • Increase access to NHS dental services in the North Wales
  • Provide services to meet need
  • Educational opportunities
  • Linking to the All-Wales Faculty of Dental Care Professionals
  • Dentists with special interests
  • Research opportunities
  • Overall, it is to meet future population health challenges

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW)

Sitting alongside Health Boards and Trusts, they are the only Special Health Authority within NHS Wales. They have a leading role in the education, training, development, and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales, supporting high-quality care for the people of Wales.

Established on 1 October 2018, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) brings together three key organisations for health: the Wales Deanery; NHS Wales’s Workforce Education and Development Services (WEDS); and the Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education (WCPPE).

The Dental Postgraduate Section of Health Education & Improvement Wales (HEIW) supports postgraduate education and training for the whole dental workforce (Dentists and Dental Care Professionals) in Wales.

This includes Dental Foundation, Dental Core and Dental Specialty Training for Dentists and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Dentists and Dental Care Professionals (DCP). These activities are underpinned by appropriate educational research and quality assurance to ensure that they are of a high standard to meet the needs of dental professionals in support of their care for their patients.

Why the project is important to HEIW?  they see two main issues being addressed:

1. Recruit and support the retention of dentist and DCPs in North Wales.

Evidence shows that most new graduates want clinical training to upskill for the future. We need to tap into this valuable resource and develop educational pathways to suit our local population. The academy is well placed to do this. The encouragement via training will bring applicants to North Wales and then these highly skilled trainees will become practitioners, staying in North Wales, committed to improving the health of the population. Two recent Clinical Dental Fellows developed in North Wales, has encouraged Welsh graduates to remain and further train in Wales. This has encouraged upskilling, promotion of self-wellbeing and the longevity of the professionals remaining in North Wales.

2. Need to upskill our local practitioners in Primary Care.

Our greatest asset, but perhaps not currently fully utilised. Many practitioners feel stagnated and trapped and the thought of using the dental academy to encourage development and upskill this group for the next decade. In addition, fully utilising skill mix, encouraging all the dental team to work to their maximum level not their minimum. Dental care should be provided at the point of contact by the most suitable trained professional. We need to assist with our asset of dental care professionals in North Wales with the development of prudent health care again within the dental academy.

All Wales Faculty of Dental Care Professionals, Bangor University

The Faculty is supported by the Welsh Government to provide education, training and support for DCP’s across Wales. It seeks to provide a platform to enrich the training environment and the capability, well-being and engagement of the Dental Care Professional (DCP) workforce across Wales. The Faculty provides support for DCPs to engage with lifelong learning and reflective practices that promote high standards in evidence-based practice. It is hosted by the School of Health Sciences at Bangor University and draws on the experience the School has in training nurses and other allied health professionals; increasing the inter-professional opportunities for DCP training in Wales. The Faulty was established in response to policy objectives developed by the Welsh Government.

The first skills-escalator (‘within-role’) will provide the potential for all types of DCPs working within a practice environment to gain further training and experience in:

  • Leadership
  • Research (linking to the Community of Scholars and Clinical Academic Pathway)
  • Quality Improvement
  • Context expertise (e.g. dental public health, primary care and rural health)

As the Faculty becomes more established, it will seek to bid in the commissioning process to be launched by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) for Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapist training. This will further a medium-term aim to offer a second ‘across-role’ skills-escalator, which will enable DCPs at different levels of training to progress from a Dental Nurse (L3 and L4) to a Dental Hygienist (L5) to a Dental Therapist (L6) with a spiral curriculum.

This will enable DCPs to step on and off the escalator to meet their own individual educational needs. Hosting the ‘Faculty’ in the School of Health Sciences will improve the holistic inter-professional nature of our training opportunities for DCPs and draws on the rich heritage that the School has in training Nurses and other Allied Health Professionals.