The purpose of Foundation Training (FT) in dentistry is to enhance clinical and administrative competence and promote high standards through relevant postgraduate training and meet the needs of general dental practice in the NHS.
In the UK newly qualified dentists are advised to obtain as wide an experience in all aspects of dentistry before considering further study or specialist training. This experience should, if possible include general dentistry in primary care in addition to working possibly in a junior hospital appointment or the salaried dental service.
The training during the first two years after qualification as a dentist has been changed into a two year Dental Foundation Training. The two year training is not at present compulsory. Two years spent in FT helps to prepare young dentists for examinations such as the MFDS or MJDF and for careers in primary dental care or specialist training.
Dental Foundation Year 1 (DF1)
There is a curriculum for DF1 and DF2 posts that comprises a range of competencies. Full registration with the General Dental Council is required for entry into DF1 in addition to the correct UK Visa. Foundation Training is a broad-based clinical experience in NHS dentistry. It may include experience in general practice, the community dental service (salaried service) and hospital dentistry. In most FT1 posts, one year is spent in an approved dental practice with a trainer who is an experienced dental practitioner. Weekly tutorials are provided by the trainer and study days are organised by the Deanery. A dental audit is completed in this first year.
FT1 is also important because in order to be on the NHS Primary Care Trust dental list as a performer a dentist must have either a performer's number, or show they have received experience or training equivalent to FT or be exempt from FT.
There is a lot of competition for FT1 posts and even UK graduates are not guaranteed employment in FT1. The employment situation in NHS dentistry is now quite different and posts can be extremely difficult to obtain. Please note that it is very difficult to find a FT post and there is no automatic right to be offered a FT post even if you have passed the ORE.
This year all FT1 posts for a starting date in July 2012 were advertised on the London Deanery website. Interviews have been carried out for all posts in England and successful candidates have been informed. There is currently a waiting list of 133 applicants who have been interviewed but not appointed.
Further information can be found from the COPDEND website.
Dental Foundation Year 2 (DF2)
DF2 may have some similarities to the old Senior House Officer post. The posts may be in secondary care (hospitals) in departments of restorative dentistry, oral surgery, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine or primary care (general practice or salaried services).
Full Registration with the General Dental Council is required for entry into DF2 posts in addition to the correct UK Visa. Appointment to Dental Foundation Year 2 (DF2) posts requires the applicants to have successfully completed DF1.
DF2 posts are usually advertised via the postgraduate deaneries and the British Dental Journal (BDJ) job pages.