The General Dental Council (GDC) has launched a consultation on routes to registration for internationally qualified dentists and dental care professionals (DCPs).
The 12-week consultation includes a call for evidence to inform and support longer term plans to develop a comprehensive framework for the assessment of international qualifications and registration.
The GDC said:
“We are proposing new rules setting out the standards and processes for the assessment of qualifications of dentists and DCPs who qualify outside the UK that are broadly in line with the current arrangements. The proposed new rules for dentists need to be in place before the current rules cease to have effect in March next year.
“We are also proposing changes to the way we sets fees for the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE), to ensure fairness in the way costs are allocated and to remove the financial constraints associated with increasing the number of ORE places.”
The number of places available for the ORE Part 1 has been tripled for remaining sittings in 2023 and all sittings in 2024. Recent reforms also mean there is a larger group of potential exam providers in future. These changes, alongside proposals to move to a cost recovery basis for the ORE, mean increased exam capacity in the short to medium term.
There are almost 13,000 (30%) dentists and just over 2,700 (3.5%) DCPs who qualified outside the UK on the GDC registers. Internationally qualified dentists made up 46% of all those added to the register in 2022, and DCPs made up 14% of all new additions to the register. Those who qualify outside the UK make an important contribution to the UK dental workforce.
Stefan Czerniawski, GDC Executive Director, Strategy, said:
“We are pleased to be able to launch this consultation. It is an important step towards creating a comprehensive framework for international registration that will deliver meaningful improvements to our processes while maintaining public safety and confidence.
“We are calling for evidence and views on how we can be assured that dental professionals have the necessary level of skills, knowledge and experience required to practise dentistry in the UK. That assessment is currently done through the ORE process for dentists and an independent assessment of qualifications for other dental professionals. We have invited views and evidence on the potential future structure of the ORE and whether there is a need for a practical assessment for DCPs.”
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