GDC response to consultation on international routes to registration

05 May, 2022
Almost a quarter of dentists registered in the UK gained their qualifications overseas. Alongside the 2,000 dental care professionals who trained overseas, they are a vital part of the UK’s dental workforce and, therefore, the arrangements for how those professionals will register in future matters to everyone.

For too long, we have been unable to improve these arrangements, or adapt to changing external factors such as Brexit or the pandemic, due to outdated and restrictive legislation. That – hopefully – will soon change.

We have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on its plans to change the legislation for almost two years. Today we have published our response to the government's consultation, welcoming all proposals.

Some of these important proposals include:

  • Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) candidates who, due to the COVID-19 exams suspension, lost part of their five-year time allowance will have the time restored. 128 people are currently blocked from booking exams because their time expired, and the proposals will resolve this problem.
  • The reforms will enable us to increase ORE capacity. This urgent need will increase if the post-Brexit period of recognising EEA qualifications closes after the government’s review next year. If so, the ORE will become the only registration route for dentists qualified outside of the UK.
  • The proposals will close the route for overseas-qualified dentists to register as dental care professionals. This will reflect the spirit of the legislation and mirror current arrangements for UK-qualified dentists.
Our Executive Director, Strategy, Stefan Czerniawski, said:

“We welcome the government’s proposals to update the law governing international registration. The proposed changes remove long-standing obstacles to developing more flexible and more efficient international routes to registration, and will allow us to expand capacity without the need for the costs to be subsidised by those already on the register.  
“These proposals are also a positive first step towards the more comprehensive reform of the legal framework governing our work which is sorely needed, and which would allow us to take a more proportionate and effective approach to regulation. We are continuing to urge the government to make more rapid progress on these wider changes, to the benefit of patients, the wider public, and the dental professionals we regulate.”

The DHSC’s consultation closes at 11.45pm, Friday 6 May. No changes to the legislation will take effect until the DHSC has considered the consultation responses, decided on the final legislative changes and both Houses of Parliament and the Scottish Parliament have voted to approve them.