The government commitment to improving the routes through which internationally qualified dental professionals can register in the UK as part of their dental recovery plan.

As part of the recovery plan, the Government said, in relation to make it easier for overseas dental professionals to work in the NHS:

“Patients receiving NHS dental care benefit greatly from overseas-qualified dentists and dental care professionals. Around 30% of all dentists on the GDC register qualified outside of the UK and, in 2022, 46% of new additions to the register were trained overseas. However, we are concerned that a lack of flexibility in international registration processes can create unnecessary delay to overseas-qualified dental professionals who meet the UK regulatory standards providing NHS dental services.

“We have already passed legislation that enables GDC to amend and expand its registration processes for international applicants and will continue to work with GDC on further expansion, making sure that overseas-qualified applicants who meet UK regulatory standards can join the GDC’s register as easily and as quickly as possible so they practise NHS dentistry at the earliest opportunity. We expect GDC to play its part fully in helping open up the profession to suitably qualified professionals.”

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It also said it would be increasing exam capacity for overseas-qualified dentists, saying:

“We welcome GDC’s decision to expand capacity of the ORE exams in 2023 to 2024, creating an additional 1300 places. We also welcome GDC’s action to expand the size of its registration casework team. We will work with GDC to explore if exam capacity can be further expanded and consider ways to further reduce registration processing times and clear the registration backlog of dentist and DCP applicants.

“We are working with the RCS to explore expansion of the LDS. We will support the RCS to develop and provide resources to prepare candidates, improve the pass rate and maximise the number of dentists eligible for GDC registration.”

In response, the GDC commented:

“We very much welcome the government’s openness to new ideas for ways of streamlining international registration. Provisional registration is an exciting opportunity that will require commitment and collaboration from across dentistry on the design and delivery of the new approach – we need to move at pace, but we need to take the time to get this right.

“We will not compromise on the standards we expect new registrants to meet, so we will need to work together to ensure that dentists will be effectively supervised and supported to practise while working under provisional registration, so that the public is protected.”

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