The General Dental Council (GDC) will increase the number of Part 2 sittings of the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) from three to four in 2024.
It is also increasing the size of its registration casework team and the number of independent assessors to help tackle the backlog in overseas applications.
The next sitting of the ORE Part 2 will be held from 16 to 19 November 2023. The regulator plans to hold sittings in January, April, September and November in 2024.
This follows an agreement with consortium partners to extend contract arrangements to March 2025.
In recent years, the GDC has been able to offer a maximum of three sittings of the ORE Part 2 per year, providing for 432 places. However, this will now increase to a minimum of four sittings in 2024, marking a 33% increase in exam places.
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There are currently 520 candidates eligible to sit the ORE Part 2. The GDC has worked with its consortium partners to be able to offer additional places.
The additional capacity for the ORE Part 2 follows the recent threefold increase in ORE Part 1 places. The ORE is made up of two parts and candidates are allowed four attempts at each part. The current pass rate for Part 2 is 45%.
The GDC is also announcing that it is doubling the size of its registration casework team. In addition, it has taken on more independent assessors.
These additional caseworkers will be focused on processing applications to join the dental care professional (DCP) register from those who qualify outside the UK. This will help to increase the number of applications assessed each month from the current 150 to around 250.
Gurvinder Soomal is GDC chief operating officer. He said: ‘We are pleased to have secured these additional places for the ORE Part 2. We’ve worked with our partners over recent months to boost ORE capacity.
‘Combined with the recent tripling of ORE Part 1 places, more candidates will have the opportunity to sit the ORE and be able to become registered dentists in the UK.
‘Planning for the procurement of the ORE for 2025 and beyond has also begun. We are currently calling for evidence for the assessment of international dentists’ qualifications, knowledge and skills, to help inform this exercise.
‘We’re also delighted to announce that we are recruiting more caseworkers to the team in Birmingham. [We] hope this will lead to faster processing of the backlog of outstanding applications to the register, following the closure of this route to qualified dentists on 8 March 2023.’
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