GDC launches public consultation on revamped specialist list application routes

09 July, 2024

We have launched a 10-week public consultation on proposed amendments to the Specialist List Assessed Application (SLAA) routes.  

This consultation seeks input from stakeholders on the ways registered dentists can gain entry to our specialist lists, requiring changes to the GDC Specialist List Regulations 2008. 

"Our first priority is that only those with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience can join the specialist lists, to ensure patient safety. Subject to that, we want to ensure that those with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience can get on specialist lists, and that the application process is clear and does not present any unnecessary barriers,” said Katherine McGirr, Head of Right Touch Regulation, General Dental Council. 

Proposed amendments: 

Oral surgery and Orthodontics: An additional route will be introduced for applications based on UK-gained specialist qualifications where the applicant is not eligible for a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). 

Remaining 11 specialties: Current SLAA routes will be merged and replaced with a single assessed application route, which will allow applicants to demonstrate equivalent knowledge, skills, and experience.  

All specialties: A new route will be incorporated to meet the requirements of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications and Implementation of International Recognition Agreements (Amendment) Regulations 2023.  

If future government decisions lead to the removal of the alignment of UK legislation with EU requirements, the GDC plans to apply the proposed approach for the 11 domestic specialties to oral surgery and orthodontics, aiming for a consistent regime across all specialties. 

Although the GDC cannot alter the routes set in the retained legislation for orthodontics and oral surgery, we aim to increase transparency and fairness. Currently, UK-trained applicants without a national training number (NTN) lack a clear pathway for specialist listing. To address this, an additional route will be proposed for applicants with UK-gained specialist qualifications in orthodontics and oral surgery. 

Consultation details: 

The consultation document, outlining the proposed changes, opened on Friday, 4 July 2024, and will remain open for 10 weeks, closing at 23:59 on 12 September 2024. Stakeholders are invited to review the proposals and provide their feedback. 

Over the past 18 months, we have successfully implemented changes to the SLAA process, including bringing the assessment of more complex specialist applications in-house, resulting in the clearing of the application backlogs. However, regulations established in 2008 to comply with European requirements have revealed challenges that necessitate further reform.  

Concerns have been raised about the current routes, particularly the academic and research route and the absence of a route for those with UK qualifications, prompting these proposed amendments for greater clarity and consistency. 

Invitation to stakeholders: 

We invite all interested parties to review the proposals and submit their views. The consultation document, including the draft revised regulations and a detailed explanation of the changes, is available on the GDC website. Responses can be submitted through an online survey or via email. 

Consultation period: 

Opening date: 4 July 2024 

Closing date: 12 September 2024, 23:59 

Responses can be submitted via the online survey available on the GDC consultation webpage or by email to [email protected]