The GDC welcomes the news that European dental qualifications will continue to be recognised in the UK for the next five years

29 June, 2023

We welcome today’s announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care that standstill provisions providing for automatic recognition of European dentists’ qualifications will be retained for a further period of five years.

Around 17% of all dentists on the UK register have European qualifications and made up 37% of all dentists who joined the register in 2022. They make an invaluable contribution to the UK dental workforce.

Legislative reforms giving us the powers to amend rules for the registration of those who qualify outside the UK were provided just three months ago. The additional time provided by the extension of standstill arrangements will allow for modernisation and meaningful improvements to regulatory processes before additional capacity for the assessment of European qualifications is needed.

The continuation of the automatic recognition of European dentists’ diplomas means that the process for those dentists to join the UK register will remain, including checks on language, health and character. The announcement will also reassure those who have left the UK to study dentistry in Europe that their qualification will be recognised in the UK when they return.

While this latest extension is welcome, there are concerns about ongoing uncertainty for professionals and regulators, as the extension of arrangements is again temporary, the need for a further review yet to be determined, and the timetable for full scale reform of the GDC’s legislation remains unclear.

Stefan Czerniawski, Executive Director, Strategy, said:

“We are pleased that the Government has agreed with our arguments that the current arrangements for recognising European dental qualifications should continue for the time being. Although in the longer term we believe there is a strong argument for a single approach to international registration, now is not the time to disrupt the flow of new entrants to the UK dental workforce.”