Changes to overseas registration – reaction from the profession

The dental profession reacts to the consultation outcomes on proposed changes to international GDC registration.

The dental profession reacts to the consultation outcomes on proposed changes to international GDC registration.

The government is in the process of reforming legislation to enable the General Dental Council (GDC) to improve international registration.

This comes after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) carried out a public consultation on proposed changes to the legislative framework governing the GDC.

Some of the proposed changes will speed up the process of international registration, give more flexibility to the GDC and affect the assessment system, including Overseas Registration Exams (ORE).

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They include:

  • ‘The requirement that an assessment for overseas dentists, such as the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE), must be provided by dental authorities, or a group of dental authorities, is removed’
  • ‘The GDC will have flexibility to apply a range of assessment options in determining whether international dentist and DCP applicants have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience for practice in the UK’
  • ‘The relevant qualification relied upon by an applicant to satisfy the registrar that they have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to be registered under a particular title in the dental care professionals register can no longer be a diploma in dentistry’.

This is no silver bullet

Eddie Crouch, BDA chair, said: ‘Yes, we need to ensure overseas registration is fair and fit for purpose. But this is no silver bullet to end the crisis in dentistry.

‘The GDC is clear most of the changes will take a year to be implemented and show any tangible gains.

‘Many of these changes address longstanding problems with the GDC’s processes, but they are simply no quick fix. They certainly won’t reduce the pressures that are pushing colleagues out of the NHS with every day that passes.

‘We need more than tinkering at the margins. Ministers have to stop trying to fill this leaky bucket and focus on fixing it.’

More questions than answers

Dentist Neel Kothari said: ‘The move to deregulate assessments for overseas dentists raises more questions than answers.

‘We all accept that the current system is outdated and inefficient but at face value this measure could be seen as a desperate ploy to fill the shortage in workers.

‘Dentistry faces a recruitment crisis in many parts of the UK, and whilst reducing barriers might make things easier, the GDC must now explain how it will do this without reducing standards and compromising patient care.’

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