View Contents

What has happened to address the issues?

07 February, 2024

Legislative changes in 2023 and 2024

Following several years’ discussion, negotiation and collaboration with the DHSC, legislation was passed that had the following effects from 8 March 2023: 

  • The GDC is able to consult on and make Rules governing our international registration processes.  
  • An individual holding an overseas primary qualification as a dentist cannot apply for registration as a DCP.  
  • ORE candidates affected by the combination of the rule requiring both parts of the examination to be completed within 5 years and the suspension of the examination during the pandemic, had their time calculation discounted by the period of the exam suspension. 
  • The restriction that required that the examination is provided by a Dental Authority was removed.  

We have maximised the opportunities of these legislation changes to make the following immediate improvements to the international registration process, between March and December 2023, we:

  • Ensured that around 750 candidates who were unable to sit Part 2 of the ORE while it was suspended due to controls put in place during the pandemic have a route and more time to sit the exam.
  • Stopped accepting applications from dentists who qualified overseas to be assessed to practise as a dental hygienist or dental therapist in the UK.
  • Completed a public consultation into new rules to register dentists and dental care professionals who have qualified overseas.
  • Engaged stakeholders across the four nations to explain the changes, encourage feedback on the new rules and evidence of what a future framework needs to contain
  • Agreed new rules to register dentists and dental care professionals who have qualified overseas.
  • Completed an evidence-gathering exercise to inform future improvements to international registration.
  • Negotiated with consortium partners to triple the number of places for Part 1 of the ORE and increase the capacity of Part 2 of the ORE by one third.
  • Invited expressions of interest for the delivery of effective, robust and timely exams from 2025.

In February 2024, we:

  • Start early market engagement with the organisations that have expressed an interest to be suppliers for the ORE, with plans in place for the exercise to be an open competitive tender for the first time. 
  • In March 2024, further legislative changes:
  • Give the GDC new powers to change the rules on the operation of the ORE
  • Introduce new ORE fees, allowing full cost-recovery from the examination, and the ability to procure a service which is scalable and flexible.

In the longer term, our ambition is not merely to improve the exam as it stands now but to create a system of international registration which is fair to applicants, efficient to deliver – and above all is rigorous in protecting patient safety. That requires a complex combination of legislative, contractual and operational changes, so we cannot get there in a single step.