Call to end “unnecessary delay” in registering overseas dentists

THE GDC has announced support for new government proposals to amend legislation causing delay in international routes to registration.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a consultation on its plans to amend the legislation governing registration of dental professionals with qualifications gained outside the UK.

The GDC has pushed for a clear timetable on the matter which it says cannot wait for a broader programme of reform, given the approaching end of the system of recognition of EU qualifications and a pressing need to address the long-standing capacity issues with the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) that have been exacerbated by Covid-19.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 6 May 2022.

The BDA has accused government and the GDC of "dragging heels" on the matter. It says the three-month consultation on necessary legal changes will mean little chance of parliamentary time until the autumn – leaving a narrow window until mutual recognition of EU dental qualifications ends in December.

It points out that the ORE has not been offered since January 2020 there are now over 2,000 applicants waiting to sit the exams. The BDA is pressing both the GDC and health and social care secretary Sajid Javid to work at pace to resolve the situation and bring down the backlog awaiting examinations and improve the processes which allow overseas dentists to work in the NHS.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: "Every new colleague unable to sit this exam translates into thousands of patients that will be denied access to needed care.

"For the sake of our patients, government must ensure that these dentists are supported and those still waiting to sit the exams can look forward to a fairer system."

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