Clarity on dual registration for oral and maxillofacial surgeons

  • Date: 09 February 2023

CLEARER guidance has been published for oral and maxillofacial surgeons explaining when they need to be registered with both the medical and dental regulators.

The General Dental Council (GDC) issued a position statement clarifying the requirements for, and exemptions from, GDC registration.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMFSs) must be registered with a licence to practise by the General Medical Council (GMC) but do not always need GDC registration. While OMFSs may need to undertake tasks that would constitute the practice of dentistry, they may not require GDC registration if those activities fall under the definition of what is known as a “medical task”.

The GDC’s new guidance is designed to clarify when this exemption would apply. It makes it clear that the setting in which an activity is undertaken, for example a hospital department or private clinic, “does not matter when considering whether it is a medical task.”

But it added: “Whilst an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may be able to rely on the medical task exemption for activities within their OMFS work, the exemption does not apply to everything that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may choose to do outside their medical practice.”

The guidance also applies to other regulated health professionals, such as appropriately qualified clinical scientists 

Stephen Henderson, head of dental division at MDDUS, welcomed the statement for providing “much-needed clarity”.

He said: “MDDUS has worked closely with the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the GDC over the last five years to help identify the similarities and differences between dentistry and maxillofacial surgery.

“It is positive to see that the location where treatment takes place is no longer considered significant and that what matters most is the nature of the task.”

He called for reform of the Dentists Act to remove the risk of double jeopardy in fitness to practise investigations, where practitioners are registered with the GDC and the GMC.

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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