How are we improving the process to join the specialist list?

17 December, 2019 by Manjula Das
How are we improving the process to join the specialist list?

Manjula Das, Head of Education Policy and Quality Assurance, provides an update on the review of the Specialist List Assessed Application (SLAA) process.

There is widespread agreement that the current SLAA process needs to improve, so we have established a working group to do just that. 
What is the SLAA process?
Dentists can apply through the SLAA route to join one of the 13 specialist lists, if they have not been through an NHS training scheme to obtain a National Training Number and do not have a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CSST). The SLAA route enables an applicant to demonstrate that either their training and experience, or their research and academic work, are equivalent to that of a CCST. 
What’s the current process?
Dentists applying to join one of the specialist lists by the SLAA route submit an application with all relevant evidence attached. Following our checks, the application is then sent to the relevant Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) for consideration.   
If the relevant advisory committee agrees that equivalence has been demonstrated the confirm with us, we then inform the applicant and add them to the relevant specialist list.
Some applicants may be invited to submit further information and unsuccessful applicants have the right to appeal to us. Appeals are heard by an independent panel. 
What is the Specialty Working Group tasked to do?
To help consider the improvements needed to the SLAA process, we established a Specialty Working Group of key stakeholders. The group was asked to undertake a comprehensive review of the process. We also established a wider reference group, who are kept up to date on developing proposals. 
To inform the review, we sought views on the SLAA process from key stakeholders, applicants, SAC members and other healthcare regulators. This work included discussions with the General Medical Council on its Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) process for medical specialty registration, which may provide a template for dentistry.
The working group has now reviewed the research and developed proposals. These proposals are now being developed into more detailed plans for implementation. Our plan is to begin this work in the spring and for it to be completed over the next 12-18 months. 

We are committed to working closely with stakeholders to make improvements to the SLAA process, and we are excited to take forward these developments. 

Our consultation on specialist lists is now complete and the response document can be downloaded here

Further, next year we will begin the process for the revision of all 13 specialty curricula. The new revised curricula will be ready for September 2021 and will be aligned with the revised SLAA process. This will provide consistency in quality for those entering the specialist lists. We look forward to sharing details in due course.

For more information about the specialist lists and the different application processes visit our specialist lists page here


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