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News / April 22, 2024

Ireland’s first community-based collaborative dental programme announced

by Rowan Thomas

RSCI collaborative community dental programme announced

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has signed a long-term collaborative agreement with the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School.  

The partnership will support RCSI in delivering a new undergraduate Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree programme. This will be the first community-based undergraduate dentistry degree programme in Ireland. 

Peninsula Dental School’s award-winning programme, established over many years, offers an innovative approach to dentistry education, combining first-rate dental training with outstanding community dental care. 

The partnership will enable RCSI to adopt a community-based approach to dental education. The partnership’s modern, comprehensive and bespoke curriculum is designed to equip graduates to deliver excellence in dental care for patients in a primary care setting, improving their oral and general health near where they live.  

This community-based approach has particular benefits for people in underprivileged communities who often struggle to access dental care. It provides a holistic and rich learning experience for students and will perhaps instil a desire to practice in the community following their graduation.

Increased numbers

The five-year programme will increase the number of dentists that qualify in Ireland each year. RCSI will welcome the first student intake in September 2025 (subject to regulatory approvals) and will qualify the first cohort of dentists in the summer of 2030.

Professor Dafydd Moore, senior deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Plymouth, who signed the curriculum agreement on behalf of the University of Plymouth, said: ‘We at Plymouth are very proud of our dental school and the impact it has had not only on the learning outcomes for our students, but the healthcare it has provided for our local community. We are pleased and humbled now to see this impact extend to the new course at RCSI and hope that staff, students and the local community here will benefit from its success.’

Professor Cathal Kelly, vice-chancellor, RCSI, said: ‘The RCSI mission “to educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health” informs and guides our strategic vision. Our commitment to launching a Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme, and reopening our School of Dentistry, reflects the importance of dentistry to human health and the key imperative of increasing access to dental care for communities across Ireland.’

Professor Ewen McColl, head of Peninsula Dental School, added: ‘Access to dental care is a huge issue in the UK and Ireland, so to be able to work with and support RCSI to have an impact in their community is a huge next step, and we look forward to accompanying them on their journey.’

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