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Becoming a trainer

VT/DFT trainers must practise in the GDS. They should be in a stable relationship with a practice, working as principals or employed or self-employed performers, and able to demonstrate involvement in and influence on the running of the practice and practice policy. Ideally, trainers should be practice owners , but it is possible for dentists working for corporate bodies to be appointed trainers if they are significantly involved in clinic management.

Trainers need high clinical and ethical standards, and should provide a wide range of treatment. They should be able to show a commitment to postgraduate education and training and understand the legal framework of general practice. They should have been in practice in the GDS for at least four years.

Potential trainers are expected to show that they are:

  • Able to work as part of a team within a well-run practice

  • Flexible and able to cope with change and uncertainty

  • Good communicators with patients and other team members

  • Available and accessible to patients through an efficient appointments system and other methods of access

  • Willing to re-organise daily routine to allow for the presence of the VDP/FD

  • Training and developing staff

  • Able to self-assess with a good critical faculty.

Potential trainers might show their commitment to CPD through their participation in peer review, clinical audit, general practice research, or running BDA or other professional meetings. It also helps to have undertaken presentations at postgraduate/continuing training courses or had dental articles, reviews or letters published. Many deaneries increasingly wish their trainers to have postgraduate education diplomas.

In return, trainers receive a trainer’s grant. The figure is stipulated in the Statement of Financial Entitlements, which is normally revised on 1 April each year.

The standards to be a trainer are high – both in terms of person specification and the standards that the practice itself needs to meet. But if you are interested in sharing your experience with a new graduate and you think that you satisfy the requirements there is every chance you would be a suitable trainer. Get in touch with your local postgraduate office and ask for a trainer application pack.

Since the introduction of national student recruitment to DFT (and previous to that, in a number of pilot schemes), the opportunity for trainers to choose their FD has diminished considerably, although the approach to trainer involvement is different in regional areas. The BDA is concerned about the lack of choice for trainers about the individual joining their practice, and is constantly raising this issue with both the DH and COPDEND.  The issue is on the agenda of the Association's Committee for Education, Ethics and the Dental Team.