The Dentist Magazine.

New data comparison tool shows increase in dental clinical academic staffing levels

Published: 8/6/2018 12:00:00 AM

The Dental Schools Council has launched its annual report on the state of the dental clinical academic workforce, which this year is supported by a new interactive tool that will ensure easier data analysis for researchers.

The interactive report also compiles data from previously published surveys and is freely available for use by all stakeholders.

The newest data shows a continued increase in the number of full-time clinical academic staff, a welcome trend that has seen a 40 per cent increase in staffing levels since 2004.

However, while overall employment is slowly on the rise, the number of clinical academics at professorial level has continued to decline, and there is instability of staff on research-active contracts. 

As discussions around the dental care workforce take place, monitoring clinical academia is more important than ever. Clinical academics work both in universities and the NHS, ensuring UK dental research and teaching remains cutting edge. The sector must therefore safeguard academic careers and encourage policy changes that maintain the positive trends in staffing levels we have seen in recent years.  

Professor Chris Deery, chair of the Dental Schools Council, says, “The continued increase in the number of clinical academic staff is a testament to the work that has been done, particularly by dental schools, to showcase the benefit clinical academia brings to UK dental care.

“As this year’s data highlights, there is clearly much more left to do, especially in regard to filling vacancies. We are all too aware of the pressures on our health service and we need these talented individuals in roles that lead the way to more efficient and effective healthcare.

“The increase has focused on teaching roles and we need to also protect research activity, as, in addition to the healthcare benefits these researchers bring to oral and general health, there is no substitute for research-led teaching at a university level.

“The new presentation of the annual survey will hopefully aid in this mission, by providing clear and concise evidence delivered in a modern and enduring format.”

The Dental Schools Council’s summary report on the latest staff data has also been released. It notes:

  • A 2.2 per cent increase in the number of full time employed clinical academic staff since 2016, and 40 per cent since 2004.
  • The number of clinical academics at professorial level has continued to decline.
  • Reader and senior lecturer numbers are recovering.
  • Senior clinical teachers have increased by 13 per cent since 2016. There has been less of an increase for clinical researchers than for the other teaching-focused staff.
  • An increase in FTE of clinical academics across the devolved nations, except Wales. Around 30 per cent of clinical academics are concentrated in London.

Access the interactive tool here:

www.dentalschoolscouncil.ac.uk/academic-dentistry/clinical-academic-staff-survey/section-1-overview

Access the new report summarising this year’s findings, Survey of Dental Clinical Academic Staffing Levels 2018, here:

www.dentalschoolscouncil.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/clinical-academic-survey-dental-2018.pdf