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Dentistry: Assessments

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 9149, tabled on 25 May 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) increase the number of places available on the Overseas Registration Exam for dentistry and (b) address the backlog of candidates waiting to take that exam.

Answered on

7 June 2022

On 22 February 2022, the General Dental Council (GDC) announced the full resumption of the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) following its suspension in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The GDC has published its 2022 sittings schedule for both components of the exam.

The capacity of the ORE is constrained by rules within the GDC’s legislative framework. The Department has consulted on proposals to amend this legislation to allow the GDC greater flexibility on alternative routes to registration for international applicants. The consultation closed on 6 May 2022 and the responses are currently being analysed. Subject to the outcome of the consultation and Parliamentary approval, we aim to introduce the legislative changes in autumn 2022. As an independent regulator, the GDC will determine how this increased flexibility could be applied, including the appropriate way to assess overseas qualifications.

Automatic recognition arrangements are in place for relevant dental qualifications obtained in the European Economic Area and Switzerland for a period of 24 months from the end of the transition period or 48 months for Swiss qualifications. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is required to undertake a statutory review of these arrangements after the 24-month period. This review will be conducted at the start of 2023. However, automatic recognition of qualifications will continue until further legislation is introduced to amend or end these arrangements.