|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 59-60
Dentistry in Saudi Arabia and the challenges of Vision 2030
Abdullah R AlShammery
Riyadh College of Dentistry and Pharmacy, Riyadh 11681, Saudi Arabia
|Date of Web Publication||9-Aug-2016|
Abdullah R AlShammery
Rector, Riyadh College of Dentistry and Pharmacy, P.O. Box 84891, Riyadh 11681
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
AlShammery AR. Dentistry in Saudi Arabia and the challenges of Vision 2030. Saudi J Oral Sci 2016;3:59-60
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has embarked on a historic mission that has been described as “an ambitious, yet achievable blueprint” to overhaul the Kingdom's economy by the year 2030 in a model of inclusive growth. Healthcare has been described in this document as an essential tool in creating a vibrant society. The document highlights the need for a healthcare sector, “that promotes competition and transparency among providers.”
Traditionally, healthcare in Saudi Arabia has been largely based on a model of governmental hospitals that provide healthcare free of cost. Dental care is available free of cost in all governmental hospitals in Saudi Arabia; however, long waiting time has led to several patients seeking care in the private sector. Dental care in the private sector is viewed as a luxury, with most payments being made out of the patients' pocket. Insurance companies, wary of the high costs of dental care, have often placed tight caps on the amount reimbursed for dental care.
The Vision 2030 statement clearly outlines a need for the corporatization of the sector, with universal insurance coverage for all citizens, allowing them to choose their preferred provider. The vision seeks to limit the involvement of the government to legislative, regulatory, and supervisory roles. The complete implications of this bold vision for the dental profession will only become clear as the plan gains traction; however, it is clear that the greater privatization of health care would serve as a valuable and timely source of employment for thousands of new dental graduates.
However, to appreciate this boom, dentists new and old need to rethink how they view dental practice. The idea of universal private health care is beneficial to both practitioners and patients. Is the dental profession in Saudi Arabia ready for the changes and the challenges? Graduating dentists in Saudi Arabia invariably work first in public institutions. There is documented evidence to suggest that only 6% of dentists who graduated in the past two decades were exclusively involved in private dental practice. In the light of vision 2030, the mindset must change drastically toward dentists seeking employment in the private sector.
Perhaps, the first step to achieve that change in mindset lies within the dental schools themselves. The goal of a dental education is not merely the inculcation of dental skills but also to guide students toward career choices. Dental schools need to be able to guide graduating students toward the idea of private dental practice. There is a need to strengthen the content of dental practice management courses in the curricula of all dental schools within the existing curricula.
With the Vision 2030 document, the Kingdom has taken a decisive step toward modernization. The winds of change that drive this vision will certainly have an impact on the dental profession. While challenging, the vision also presents the profession with a unique opportunity to modernize. It is up to the profession to step up and accept the challenge… the ball is truly in our court.
| References|| |
Al-Dlaigan YH, Al-Sadhan R, Al-Ghamdi M, Al-Shahrani A, Al-Shahrani M. Postgraduate specialties interest, career choices and qualifications earned by male dentists graduated from King Saud University. Saudi Dent J 2011;23:81-6.