Bid to fill the dental gap

The University of East Anglia (UEA) has reached the second round of bidding for a new dental school.

Last week a committee of MPs highlighted significant variations in dental provision in the UK. The problem is particularly acute in East Anglia, where many people have to wait months for NHS treatment.

The Government is investing an extra £368m to improve NHS dentistry, including increasing the numbers of dental students.

UEA hopes to open a new School of Dentistry and has reached the second round of the bidding process. The bid has the backing of local MPs, the Strategic Health Authority, local hospital trusts and primary care trusts.

A decision is expected at the end of this year. If UEA is successful, the first 75 students would come to Norwich in September 2007.

Professor Sam Leinster, Head of the University's Medical School, who is leading the bid, says Dentistry would be a natural progression for UEA.

“Students studying for health-related degrees at UEA have largely accounted for the University's expansion in recent years and our graduates have helped fill shortages in a number of health professions in our region, which is good news for all of us who live here,” said Professor Leinster.

“We have demonstrated our success in establishing a number of new health schools in recent years, most recently a School of Medicine. Our innovative approach has been widely acknowledged and we would relish the opportunity of continuing this 'do different' tradition in creating a School of Dentistry.”

Since the first 60 occupational therapy and physiotherapy students arrived at UEA in 1991, the number of students studying health-related subjects (medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, nursing and midwifery) has risen to 3763 in the current academic year.

Background: health at UEA:

1991: First Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy students arrive at UEA 1995: First Nursing and Midwifery students 1996: First Health Policy and Practice students 2001: First 110 Medical Students 2005: 3763 students studying a wide range of health-related subjects: medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, nursing and midwifery

Wednesday 27th of July 2005 07:00:19 AM