Survival guide

TIP! Try selecting an audit topic which is relevant to your clinical practice rather than focusing on legislative and regulatory required topics such as:

  • the quality of radiographs (in conformance with the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000), and
  • the local self-assessment audit for assessing implementation of HTM 01-05: decontamination in primary care dental practices and related infection prevention and control issues.

Case presentations

Although the format of case presentations varies from scheme to scheme, they generally involve the presentation of a clinical case that you have managed during the course of the FT year. Giving an effective presentation that uses relevant teaching materials and is targeted to the level of understanding and expectations of the audience is a COPDEND curriculum competency153 that you are expected to demonstrate during FT.

The following are some tips regarding case presentations.

  • Start thinking about selecting possible cases early in the year. Treatment plans could go on for months, so it is better to start sooner rather than later.
  • Have several back-up cases available as a contingency in case your primary case patient does not complete his or her treatment for whatever reason.
  • Ensure that a camera is always accessible in your surgery, as you never know when an interesting case could walk through your door.
  • Anonymise all patient-identifiable details (including information on radiographs and study models) when presenting.
  • Clinical photographs help to bring your presentation to life; the higher quality they are the better. Photographs capturing pre and post treatment can be helpful.
  • Try not selecting complex cases involving advanced clinical techniques. Remember that you will be assessed against the benchmark of a month 12 FD, not a specialist.
  • Why not bring in any study models to aid your presentation? Better still, these could be articulated.
  • You may be assessed on your communication and presenting skills but try not to get carried away with using professional software effects – remember that this is a clinical presentation.
  • Rehearse the presentation of your case to ensure that you do not go under or over any time limits.
  • Set out your treatment plan clearly in a stepwise manner.
  • Reflect on the outcome of the case, what you feel went well and what you feel you could have done better.
  • Remember when explaining your case that although your ES and you would be very familiar with the case, your audience may not be.
  • Be sure not to take any questions as criticisms. If your approach to the case is at variance with somebody, remember that there is usually not one single definitive treatment plan.
  • As FT is an NHS funded scheme, expect questions testing your knowledge of NHS rules and regulations.

Ars est celare artem

Dentistry is often described as where ‘art meets science’, and the Latin phrase Ars est celare artem loosely translates as ‘Art hides itself’. Essentially the idea is that the truest art lacks overt ingenuity, and that you need to be at a certain level of competence to see it, let alone appreciate it. In some respects this is what the FT year is about – mastering procedures and techniques that produce outcomes which look relatively simple to the untrained eye.

The postoperative radiograph of a well-shaped and well-obturated root canal treatment performed using hand files, for instance, shows an apparent effortlessness revealing a depth of skill and knowledge so inherent that the hand files are nothing more than a basic tool. Try to remember this Latin phrase when tempted to use advanced clinical techniques and equipment (such as rotary endodontic equipment) during the year.

Claims for travel and subsistence

From 1 April 2013, the delegated responsibility for travel and subsistence payments to dentists undertaking verifiable CPD was given to NHS England Area Teams. You can make claims on FP84 forms, which serve as a certificate of attendance and a claim form for both reimbursement of dental travel and subsistence. The form must then be sent to the relevant Area Team, or shared services (if applicable). The FP84 form sets out the rates at which expenses are reimbursed to NHS staff who have to travel in connection with their official duties.154

The rates for reimbursement at the time of writing are detailed here.

Overnight allowance

  • Actual receipted cost of bed and breakfast up to a maximum of   £55.00
  • Non-commercial accommodation (e.g. friends or relatives).   £25.00

Meal allowance

  • Lunch (applicable when more than 5 hours away from the practice including the times between 12 noon and 2 p.m.).   £5.00
  • Evening Meal (applicable when away from the practice for more than 10 hours after 7 p.m.).   £15.00

Mileage allowance

  • Dentists using their own vehicle (shortest practicable route between place of work and place visited).   £0.24
  • Dentists carrying one of more named eligible dentists to the same course.   £0.05

Travel and subsistence reimbursements are usually paid onto the practice owner’s contract and will appear against your name on the monthly schedule received from the NHS BSA. It will be necessary for the practice owner to pay you this reimbursement.


The FD salary is fixed and calculated from the Statement of Financial Entitlements155 produced by the Department of Health. As the salary is standardised there is no regional weighting allowance.

Your employer (either your ES or the practice owner) receives gross funding in 12 equal monthly instalments which includes: their trainer’s grant, a reimbursement of your salary and service costs covering the costs of employing you. It is through this arrangement that you are usually paid on a monthly basis, with the precise timing each month dependent upon when your employer usually pays his or her staff. If you are struggling for payment in your first month and have not yet been paid by your employer, it is not unreasonable for you to perhaps ask them for an advance.

As an employee you must have tax and NI deducted, as well as superannuation contributions if you chose to opt into the NHS Pension Scheme. Your itemised payslip received every month should show your payment and all deductions every month. Any queries that you have about your pay and deductions should be taken up with your employer. Failing that, you could approach your FTPD or consult with an accountant who may come to speak to your scheme at a study day.


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May 3, 2015 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on Survival guide

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