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Health / Hopes that dental student pilot scheme can be made permanent

Dentistry students Cara Marcuccilli and Olivia Welch
Photo: NHS Shetland

MOVES will be made to try to make a pilot scheme where dental students gain experience by working in Shetland permanent.

It comes after six students from the University of Dundee Dental School spent time in Shetland earlier this month.

It is hoped that introducing dental students to Shetland will entice them to return in the future to take up jobs and improve dental service provision, which has suffered since the Covid pandemic.

If the pilot is made permanent then there is the potential for students to be in Shetland for 32 weeks of the year.

Between 7 and 25 August the six Dundee students attended the Montfield and Brae dental clinics to treat patients whilst under supervision.

They were Olivia Welch, Cara Marcuccilli, Lizzie Beard, Hannah Milner, Emma McGreaty and Nathan Legg.

NHS Shetland’s director of dentistry Antony Visocchi said: “I would like to thank our fantastic team for the support and energy they gave in getting the pilot outreach scheme organised over the past few months, and for being so enthusiastic and supportive to the students when they were here.

“I would also like to thank the patients who have attended so far. They have been very understanding and considerate with the students.

“Feedback has been excellent and everyone has been very grateful for the high quality of care they received.

“Of course, I would also like to thank the students for their engagement, professionalism and passion which has significantly contributed to the huge success of this pilot.

“We now have a great foundation to raise the possibility of making this a permanent arrangement from September 2024.

“This would enable us to welcome students from Dundee Dental School to Shetland for 32 weeks of the year.”

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The students were full of praise for the scheme, with Cara Marcuccilli saying: “This experience massively increased my confidence in treating patients.”

Nathan Legg said: “Wonderful opportunity to experience what life is like on the Island, its unique benefits and challenges and how NHS Shetland adapts to deliver high-quality healthcare in these circumstances.

“Staff did an amazing job at making me feel welcome.”

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