Government proposes plans to reduce red tape for overseas dentists

The dental regulator could be given powers to cut red tape and register overseas dentists faster under new plans.

However, experts accused ministers of “trying to fill a leaky bucket” and called on them to “actually fix” NHS dentistry.

The Government has proposed new powers for the General Dental Council (GDC) to provisionally register dentists who qualified outside the UK in a bid to bolster NHS dentistry.

At the moment, they are required to pass an exam before they can start working.

It is hoped the move will speed up the process and attract more international talent to the UK dental workforce.

He said: “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 – and we will work with stakeholders across the dental sector and four nations to do so.”

However, Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association (BDA), said: “A broken contract is forcing dentists out of the NHS with every day it remains in force.

“Overseas dentists are no more likely to stick with a failed system than their UK colleagues.

“Ministers need to stop trying to fill a leaky bucket, and actually fix it.”

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), about 30% of all dentists on the GDC register qualified outside the UK.

In 2022, some 46% per cent of new additions trained overseas.

The proposal forms part of the Government’s £200 million NHS Dental Recovery Plan.

The blueprint, unveiled earlier this month, also proposes £20,000 bonuses for dentists working in under-served communities in a bid to increase appointment capacity by 2.5 million next year.

Primary care minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Our dental recovery plan will create millions more dental appointments, improve access for patients and ease pressure on the sector.

“Our hard-working dentists deserve our gratitude and this is the start of our plan to put the sector on a sustainable footing.

“Strengthening the workforce is key to our ambitions and our proposals would abolish red tape that currently prevents fully qualified overseas dentists from working in this country, while ensuring the highest standards of care and patient safety.

“We have a long-term plan to make access to NHS dental care faster, simpler and fairer for all, and I want to make sure we hear views from across the sector as we drive this forward.”

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