Calls are being made for urgent reform to the overseas registration exam to help boost the dental workforce.
The Association of Dental Groups (ADG) is pushing its campaign to boost the UK dental workforce following alarming new statistics.
New data reveals that 40% of children do not have regular NHS dental check ups. Around 104,000 children visited hospital with rotten teeth in the last five years.
Now, the ADG is urging the General Dental Council (GDC) to speed up the approval of qualified dentists through the overseas registration exam (ORE).
At present, it says, there is a backlog of 2,000 overseas dentists waiting to take the exam.
Tackle the backlog
Last year, the GDC announced plans to increase the number of Part 2 sittings of the ORE from three to four in 2024.
It also said it will increase the size of its registration casework team and the number of independent assessors to help tackle the backlog in overseas applications.
The regulator said it will hold sittings in January, April, September and November this year.
Neil Carmichael, chair of the ADG, said: ‘That’s 2,000 dentists that could be practising at a time when the UK dentistry is crying out for greater resource.
‘The government needs to use every tool at its disposal to encourage the GDC to make it easier for dentists to practice in the UK, by increasing the number of places on the ORE and sitting them more frequently.
‘A net increase of just 1,000 dentists could deliver access to NHS primary dental care for up to 750,000 people. This will alleviate the pressure on health services and ensure that everyone in the UK has access to quality dental care.’
While the ADG backs the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan to increase UK training of dentists, it states that an increased workforce will only be seen from mid 2030.
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