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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland


We develop and deliver high-quality education and training that will have a positive impact on the oral health and care of the people of Scotland.

Clinical Effectiveness 

Clinical Effectiveness workstream, operates within the Dental Directorate. The primary aim of the workstream is to support dental teams throughout Scotland by providing user-friendly, evidence-based guidance on topics identified as priorities for dentistry in Scotland. 

Areas of Clinical Effectiveness include: 

QIiPT – Quality Improvement in Practice Training

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) 

The CPD workstream provides a programme of education and training events for dentists, dental care professionals and practice teams, to help them keep up to date, maintain their GDC registration and provide high quality care for their patients. We also provide support with remediation, returning to work, becoming eligible for an NHS list number and Quality Improvement Activity: 

Core and Specialty Training 

NES works with health boards across Scotland to provide Dental Core and Specialty training within the hospital and public dental services.  Dental Core Training is a period of supported training which is usually undertaken after Vocational training.  Specialty training is currently provided in 10 of the 13 dental specialties, delivering the GDC approved curricula.  Successful completion of specialty training leads to the award of a certificate of completion of specialty training and entry to the relevant GDC specialist list. 

Dental Care Professionals 

The Dental Care Professional (DCP) workstream has responsibility for the delivery of pre-and post-registration educational opportunities for DCPs. In addition, the workstream provides training programmes for Dental Administrators/Receptionists and Dental Practice Managers to work towards achieving a formal qualification in their occupational field.  

There are five principal areas of activity: 

Further information on DCP education and training opportunities can be found on our: 

Mandatory Training

There a requirement for mandatory training for those applying to join the dental list in Scotland for the first time and those who have had a period of absence from a list of twelve months or more.

Dentists who are currently included on an equivalent list in England, Wales or Northern Ireland who apply to join a dental list in Scotland either as a contractor or assistant require to satisfactorily complete Part 2 of mandatory training only and the Test of Knowledge. 

We have been asked by Scottish Government to set up this training, to assess those who attend and to issue certification to those who successfully complete it. This certification will be required by a territorial Health Board before they can issue a list number.

See our Turas Learn Page for more information:


Within the Dental Directorate Continuing Professional Development workstream, NHS Education for Scotland provides support for dental registrants in various ways. This includes returning to work after a leave of absence, support for those undergoing investigation due to underperformance and, on behalf of Scottish Government, we run Mandatory Training (Induction to Dentistry in Scotland) for those seeking NHS listing in Scotland.

These support mechanisms have previously been found under various titles, however from 5th April 2021 we are pleased to introduce our new programme within NES Dental which is called NEST.

This reflects:

  • New to Dentistry Mandatory Training / Not in Work
  • Education
  • Support
  • Training

See our Turas Learn Page for more information: 

Reducing Inequalities

Aims to work collaboratively with key partners to reduce inequalities and improve oral health for priority groups through sustainable educational solutions. We define priority groups as people in Scotland who are, or are at particular risk of, experiencing barriers to having a healthy mouth due to disadvantage or marginalisation.  

We have a commitment to support behaviour changes through developing and upskilling the Health, Social Care and 3rd Sector workforce to support their communities in making healthier choices. 

See our Turas Learn Page for more information: 

You may have come across some of the initiatives, for which the Reducing Inequalities workstream provides education support: 

  • Childsmile - Oral Health Improvement for Children
  • Caring for Smiles - Oral Health Improvement for Dependant Older People
  • Smile4Life - Oral Health Improvement for Homeless People
  • Mouth Matters - Oral Health Improvement for those within the Prison System
  • Open Wide - Oral Health Improvement for Adults with Additional Support Needs

Other examples of training and education to support the workforce from Health, Social Care and 3rd Sector: 

Vocational Training 

Dental VT is generally undertaken in the year following graduation from dental school and obtaining a primary dental degree.  

It is available to both dentists and dental therapists. VT gives the newly qualified professional the opportunity to obtain a wide experience of dentistry in a general practice setting before considering their future career, further study or specialist training.  

VT comprises 12 months of supervised clinical experience in an approved training practice, supplemented by an educational programme of tutorials and study days, and rigorously assessed for the purposes of awarding Satisfactory Completion, which is a requirement for dentists who wish to practice independently in GDS in Scotland.  

See our Turas Learn page for more information about the education we provide for VT: 

Please see the current Curriculum and Competency Documents

Therapist Vocational Training Curriculum and Competencies

See our Recruitment page to find out how to apply:

Last updated: 05/11/2020

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