New legislation for international registration and new proposals for scope of practice guidance

01 March, 2023 by Lord Toby Harris

Modernisation of international registration takes a step forward

When the new legislation for international registration comes into effect on 8 March, we will have new powers to modernise the processes for registration of those who quality outside the UK.

Our aim is to create a system of international registration which is fair to applicants, efficient to deliver – and above all is rigorous in protecting patient safety. Achieving that depends on a complex combination of legislative, contractual and operational changes, so we won’t get there in a single step, particularly as some aspects of the way we operate the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) are still fixed in legislation for another 12 months.

So the first stage of reform, subject to approval from the GDC’s Council, will be to prepare and consult on new rules to come into force next year which introduce pragmatic changes to allow the ORE to be delivered more efficiently and support increases in its capacity.

This approach allows time for the GDC, working with stakeholders, to explore and propose new approaches which take full advantage of the new legislation and maintain the rigour of our standards while ensuring that there is sufficient capacity to meet demand.

Improving our guidance on scope of practice

We’re already receiving feedback on the GDC’s consultation on Scope of Practice guidance which started in February. The proposals are important for dental professionals, workplaces and education providers, even though they will not change the scope of practice of any of the dental professions. However, the changes aim to help professionals understand the boundaries of other roles within the dental team and to promote team-working that delivers best patient care, using their professional judgement. This is why they’re important for everyone and I’d ask anyone with an interest to respond.

As I mentioned last month, this is the first in a series of proposals about standards and guidance. You will have opportunities to provide feedback on further consultations in March about the regulatory requirements for indemnity and information about changes in circumstances that dental professionals need to report to the GDC.

Continuing to improve regulation in the absence of structural reform

We were disappointed to hear that fundamental reform of our legislation still appears to be years away at best. However, we urge dental stakeholders to respond to the proposals from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for regulations for the General Medical Council (GMC) that will apply to physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs). The reason we think this is important is that these will be considered as a template for future reform for other regulators, including the GDC.

In the absence of proposals for wider reforms, we will continue our focus on changes to the international registration process and making performance improvements in fitness to practise, as set out in our Corporate Strategy 2023–2025.

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