Educational support for the dental workforce: a review of the first five years of Retaining and Returning Advisers in England.

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Colleges, School and Institutes


INTRODUCTION Retaining and Returning Advisers (RRAs) were appointed to postgraduate dental deaneries in England in 2002 as part of the Government's strategy to retain the dental workforce and support return to practice following a career break. The study aimed to review RRAs' activities and consider the overall success of the RRA initiative five years from inception (2007). DESIGN AND METHODS A case study design, conducted in three phases, drawing on qualitative data. In Phase 1, semi-structured interviews were held with all RRAs in England (n=12). Phase 2 involved an electronic survey of all 12 postgraduate dental deans in England (n=10). In Phase 3, analysis was undertaken and a final report prepared. RESULTS RRAs have been flexible in responding to the changing policy context, and devolved funding for the role to the local, deanery level. They have adapted to support more diverse target groups including those seeking vocational training equivalence and underperforming dentists. Future priorities were envisaged to be associated with primary care trusts' commissioning and quality assurance responsibilities, and supporting all members of the dental team. CONCLUSION RRAs have become well-established in deaneries and have made a successful contribution to addressing workforce and educational needs for a diverse group of practitioners.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E6
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2011