The General Dental Council will administer the specialist list assessed applications (SLAA) scheme directly in the future, taking it away from the Specialist Advisory Committees.

As well as keeping registers of all dentists and dental care professionals who are entitled to practise in the UK, the GDC also holds lists of registered dentists who are entitled to use one of the 13 recognised specialist titles.

Dental professionals registered with the GDC and who have completed an approved specialist training programme in the UK may apply for the award of a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) and entry onto the relevant specialist list. 

GDC-registered dentists who do not hold a CCST can apply to join a specialist list by submitting evidence that they have an equivalent level of knowledge and experience gained in other ways. This is also known as an assessed application. 

These applications are made to the GDC and assessed by Specialist Advisory Committees (SACs), which are intercollegiate bodies within the Royal Colleges that advise on higher specialist training in the dental specialties. 


The specialist list assessment applications route was paused in early 2022 that has resulted in some dentists having to wait much longer than normal to receive a decision on their application. The GDC acknowledged that this “…is understandably very frustrating for the candidates affected, and in some cases causes particular difficulty where offers of employment depend on having a specialist title.”

Deficiencies in the current system include the fact that there is no direct contact between the GDC and those undertaking the assessments within the SACs, which can result in a disjointed user experience and makes the overall process more complicated than it needs to be. 

A new approach for assessing specialist list applications   

The GDC said the first priority is to restart the initial assessment of applications

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