Calls for flexible working
 

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Calls for flexible working

 

Calls for flexible working

The dental profession must give staff greater control over their working lives if it wants to stop them quitting the profession, dental school chiefs have warned.

Katie Petty-Saphon, executive director of the council of heads and deans of dental schools (CHDS), called for more ‘flexible working’ in addition to improved pay and conditions.

In written evidence to the House of Commons Health Committee, Dr Petty-Saphon said: ‘Flexible working opportunities are particularly important due to the feminisation of dentistry and the ageing workforce.’

But while more women are joining dentistry – with the dental school intake now 56% female – only 20% of clinical academics are women. At the level of dental professor this drops to 11%. CHDS has set up a working group to investigate why women are turning away from clinical academia and to find a way of encouraging more of them to consider such careers.

A similar lack of interest pervades younger people. More than half of all clinical academics are over 45 and fewer than 10% are under 35.

Young dentists and doctors do not view clinical academia as an attractive career path, ‘partly because of the increased time required to complete training’, Dr Petty-Saphon said.

The CHDS, which submitted its evidence as part of the Health Committee’s inquiry into workforce planning, said a lengthy period of stability was a ‘prime requirement’ for predicting future demands.

Dr Petty-Saphon said: ‘A picture needs to be developed of how care will be developed in 20-40 years’ time. But trying to predict meeting the treatment need from 2008 is unthinkable at present. Dentistry is still suffering from the effects of closing three good schools 10 to 15 years ago and the number of clinical academic staff in dentistry is the lowest it has been for over a decade.’

 Posted on : Mon 3rd - Jul - 2006

 

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