Latest updates from the GDC

View from the Chair

Our Chair talks about the importance of understanding the roles different organisations play and the systems within which we operate  - the topic of our recent meeting of Dental Leadership Network - in his August blog post

Lord Harris also highlights how we’re contributing to the conversation on improving access to NHS dentistry and the dental workforce. 

Dental Leadership Network looks to understand the system 

For the third time, members of the Dental Leadership Network met last month to look at the role that dental leaders across the sector have within the system, as well as the constraints and opportunities. Attendees represented stakeholder groups across the dental professions, education, corporate groups and government in the four nations, producing some lively and productive discussions.  

You can read more on some of the highlights here: The Dental Leadership Network meets to understand the systems in which the dental sector operates across the UK. The next event is scheduled to take place on 14 November in London. If you are interested in joining the network or to find out more, please contact us by email.  

More ORE places and new capacity in the registration casework team 

We are increasing the availability of places in the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) for internationally qualified candidates, and are doubling the size of the registration casework team in Birmingham to help tackle the current backlog in dental care professional applications.

We recently announced a threefold increase in the number of ORE Part 1 places, and have worked with our consortium partners to extend the current contract for Part 2 to March 2025, boosting places by a third by increasing the number of sittings from three to four in 2024. The next sitting of ORE Part 2 will be held from 16 to 19 November.

We’re also taking on more caseworkers and independent assessors to process applications to join the dental care professional register from those who qualify overseas. While the backlog remains considerable, the number of applications coming in has returned to historical levels, following the closure of this route to qualified dentists in March.

Find out more about the new capacity on our website.

Have your say on international registration 

Our consultation and call for evidence on routes to registration for internationally qualified dentists and dental care professionals is now open. We’re inviting comments on proposed new rules for both routes. We are also calling for evidence on how to assess the skills, knowledge and experience of those who qualify outside the UK could be assessed against our standards in future.

Review and respond to the proposals by 26 September.

Two new registrant Council members appointed

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Serbjit Kaur MBE, who is a dentist, and Timea Milovecz, who is a dental nurse and dental hygienist, as registrant members of Council.

They will take up their new roles on 1 October 2023, and bring a wide range of skills and experiences that will be invaluable to Council.

Find out more about Serbjit and Timea’s skills and experience.

Support on NHS direct access from NHS England    

Further support is now available for dental hygienists and therapists who want to broaden their scope of practice through NHS direct access. The new online training module is a ‘how to’ guide for direct access, and includes details of how to open, close and submit courses of treatment in the NHS.

The training has been created by the Office of the Chief Dental Officer in England, and is introduced by Rebecca Harris, Deputy Chief Dental Officer for England.

Find the NHS England direct access training online.

Dental nurses first to finish the Oral Health Practitioner Apprenticeship  

Oral Health Practitioner Apprentices were awarded the Royal Society of Public Health Diploma for Oral Health Practitioners in May. The dental nurses from Thames Valley and Wessex are the first group to complete the course.

The apprenticeship was delivered by Workforce Training and Education Directorate of NHS England (formerly Health Education England). The course is focused on prevention through oral health education and promotion, and is designed to support recruitment and retention within the dental nurse workforce.

Find out more about the Oral Health Practitioner Apprentices.

Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Recovery Committee: NHS dental services

The Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Recovery Committee has completed its inquiry into NHS dental services and written with recommendations to the Minister for public health, Jenni Minto MSP.  

Among the issues of interest to the Committee were health inequalities and the levels of recovery of NHS services post-pandemic. The recommendations include that the Scottish Government should outline and consult on different service-model options and that the recently announced reform of dental payments in Scotland should be scrutinised by the Scottish Parliament’s Health committee.  

Health and Social Care Committee on NHS dentistry  

The Health and Social Care Committee has concluded that “NHS Dentistry is facing a crisis of access, resulting in a decline in oral health.” MPs issued their report in July calling on Ministers to ensure that everyone had access an NHS dentist when they needed one and to focus on patients in the greatest need to address inequalities in access.

The Committee also had a number of recommendations on how to encourage more dental professionals to undertake NHS work, including dental contract reform, the need for improved workforce data, incentivising recruitment and retention, and overseas recruitment.  

You will find the full report on the UK Parliament website.

Scottish Government announce new payment structure for NHS dental care 

The Scottish Government has announced a new payment structure for NHS dental care in Scotland. Among the changes is a 6% uplift on fee items, and capitation and continuing care payments.  The new provisions are due to be effective from 1 November 2023 and will be supported in the Autumn by educational material and webinars delivered by NHS NES.