GDC welcomes the government’s positive response to improve international registration of dental professionals

07 February, 2024

We welcome the government’s commitment to improving the routes through which internationally qualified dental professionals can register to practise in the UK as part of their dental recovery plan.

The benefits of the legislative changes that we encouraged the government to introduce last year are already being seen, with substantial increases in the capacity of the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) already in place. But those legislative changes are still not fully in force, and it will take time to capture the full benefits, which starts with letting new contracts to providers. The procurement process for that is well underway.

We are also pleased to see that the government has recognised the case we have been making for the introduction of provisional registration for internationally qualified dentists. This has the potential to bring dentists into the workforce more quickly, to help them adapt to practising in the UK environment with support and supervision, and to provide a valuable alternative to the ORE.

We look forward to working with the government to support the legislative changes necessary to create the provisional registration route – and to working with the health services and education providers of all four nations to develop the practical arrangements required.

As the government has acknowledged, exploring automatic recognition of international qualifications from outside the EEA is also a potential route to increase the number of dental professionals who can practise in the UK.

For all new dental professionals seeking to work in the UK, whether qualified here or in other countries, our priorities are that standards are maintained, patients are safe, and the public are protected. Internationally qualified dental professionals make a vital and very welcome contribution to dental care across the UK, and we want to ensure that the registration process does not impose unnecessary obstacles.

Increasing the flow of new international dental professionals can make a useful contribution to addressing the wider challenges of dental provision, but it cannot provide a solution to them.

Stefan Czerniawski, Executive Director, Strategy, said:

“We very much welcome the government’s openness to new ideas for ways of streamlining international registration. Provisional registration is an exciting opportunity that will require commitment and collaboration from across dentistry on the design and delivery of the new approach – we need to move at pace, but we need to take the time to get this right.

“We will not compromise on the standards we expect new registrants to meet, so we will need to work together to ensure that dentists will be effectively supervised and supported to practise while working under provisional registration, so that the public is protected.”

• Our Chair's latest blog a factsheet further explain the facts, issues and priorities around registering dental professionals from overseas