The General Dental Council has no control over 17% of the dentists on its register – and more are coming
Sir, Amid the discussions about the qualifications of doctors who trained outside the EU, little attention was paid to EU/EEA-qualified dentists.
Of dentists registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) 72 per cent are UK qualified, 17 per cent are EU/EEA qualified, and 11 per cent are from overseas. Overseas graduates have to pass an overseas registration exam which is of the same standard as the final examination in UK dental schools, and also includes basic science.
However, there is no such requirement for non-UK, EU/EEA- qualified dentists. Moreover, while UK graduates also have to complete a period of supervised practice to be able to practise in the NHS, this is not required of other EU/EEA graduates.
The Association for Dental Education in Europe is trying to achieve harmony in dental education throughout the EU/EEA, but these standards are variable.
The GDC validates training in the UK, but such a national supervisory body is not the EU norm.
Currently the GDC has had no control over the qualifications of 17 per cent of dentists on its register, despite having been set up by Act of Parliament for this purpose. With the proposed reduction in the number of UK dental school places and countries such as Romania producing five times as many dentists as they have employment for, this figure seems likely to rise.
Dr Josie A Beeley
Association of Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry, University of Glasgow