Student dentists arrived in Shetland this week as part of a pilot scheme providing outreach experience in spite of the challenges of the pandemic.
NHS Shetland’s director of dentistry, Antony Visocchi who is also a lecturer at the Institute of Dentistry in Aberdeen, launched the scheme to help ensure the students can graduate by December.
Mr Viscocchi hopes it may also inspire young dentists to come and live and work in Shetland.
Student dentists have struggled to gather the required experience due to the restrictions of Covid-19. Aberdeen students usually attend Stornoway and Elgin for their outreach studies, but it was feared the pandemic may be unable to fulfil their requirements due to the pandemic.
Recognising the challenges, Mr Visocchi set up the pilot scheme offering students the chance to experience the isles while completing their training.
Montfield dental clinic welcomed the first two, final year students from Aberdeen on Monday. Two other students will visit each week for the rest of this month.
The first two students were Ayesha Ahmad and Kelvin Onyinah who treated 40 patients in four days.
Ms Ahmad said: “I have really enjoyed my time here and it would have been great if we could have stayed longer”.
Mr Onyinah added: “The staff have been very supportive and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have experienced dentistry in Shetland”.
Mr Visocchi said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity and I must thank the team for
all their support in setting up this scheme and the energy they had towards it.
“They were so enthusiastic with the students when they arrived and it’s been great to watch.
“I’d also like to thank the patients who have been very understanding and provided the students with such encouraging and positive feedback.
“The patients were all very grateful for the high quality of care they received.
“This is a great endorsement of the standard of service we deliver here in Shetland.
“I hope to make this a permanent arrangement in the future so we may be able to
welcome students from Aberdeen each year.”
Mr Visocchi hopes young dentists will want to return to live and work after graduating to improve dental service provision for the community.