Dentistry in the Public Health Sector is about to get a major boost as courses for Public Health Dental Assistants have started at the Government Training Division on Church Street.
The classes, which will run for twelve weeks, are being facilitated by well known Dental Physician, Dr. Gregson Williams, who operates Williams and Associates Dental Ltd on Dickerson Bay Street.
Dr. Williams, who is also the Senior Dental Consultant for the Ministry of Health and the Environment, said that the ultimate goal of the sessions is to improve the overall output of Public Health Dental Services.
“We actually wanted to improve the Public Health System in dentistry for many years because we found that we lacked trained dental assistants and this is extremely important because as dentistry has progressed, the assistants play a central role in delivering patient care,” Dr Williams said.
He also noted that the new classes are a step in the right direction and are a complete change from what used to be the old way of training and schooling Dental Assistants.
“We were short staffed and it was difficult to find personnel. What used to happen before in the system is that people used to be trained on the job and this is not adequate for today’s purposes because we have to be very careful when it comes to infection control and contamination and the many little things that we handle,” he explained.
Williams, who has been in the dental profession for well over two decades, described the three-month long courses as the tip of the iceberg.
“Dental Assistants also have training in many other backgrounds, so what we have done is to organize a program through the training department where we set about to train dental assistants and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real truth is that a dental assistant training program is really one year certificate and two years diploma and we are trying to do this course in twelve weeks,” Williams noted.
Dr. Williams said that following graduation, some dental assistants will be asked to fill the current vacancies that exist in the Government sector, while others will find employment among private practices.
“There are some vacancies in the Government Department and of course the trainees will have to do an exam and then apply officially for these spots; those that are selected to be employed will be employed in the health system while the others will probably end up in private practices”, Dr. Williams explained.
Currently, there are ten students who are attending the classes which are being held on Wednesdays from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
The initiative is a joint venture between the Ministry of Health and the Environment, the Training Division and the Ministry of Labour.