Scottish dental students could end up losing access to the Dental Undergraduate Bursary, under new changes announced by the SNP.
The changes mean undergraduates will now be means tested, with applicants that have two parents working full time earning over £8.45 per hour now no longer able to receive the £4,000-a-year bursary.
The British Dental Association (BDA) Scotland has accused the Scottish Government of backtracking on its manifesto pledges and shutting off access to healthcare professions for those families on modest incomes.
Scottish Government has stated its intentions to divert funds into a programme to support children from deprived schools to apply for dentistry.
Kick in the teeth
‘The Scottish Government appears to be following Westminster’s lead, and risks raising the drawbridge to the health professions to children from ordinary families,’ Paul Blaylock, chair of the BDA’s Students Committee, said.
‘Dental students will be losing out on up to £16,000 over the course of their degree when their finances are already stretched and debt is rising.
‘It’s a kick in the teeth to the vast majority of students who will spend their professional lives working for the NHS and improving Scotland’s oral health.
‘This funding exists because these students face longer term lengths, and significant difficulties juggling their studies with part-time work.
‘If the money is going to be shifted back into schools, the Scottish Government needs to indicate how that money will be spent to increase access to training as a dentist.
‘There is a review underway of Scottish student finance.
‘They have a duty to deliver adequate financial support for all students that meets their full cost of living and allows them to focus on their studies.’