Latest updates from the GDC

A view from the Chair

Our Chair, Lord Harris, asks for your help to shape our thinking on some key issues over the coming months, including how we provide standards and guidance to the dental team and how to modernise our international registration processes, in his July blog post.  

Today, on the 75th anniversary of the NHS, the Chair also highlights the publication of the NHS England Long Term Workforce Plan, and discusses how together we might help inform the wider debate about workforce needs and plans around the UK.  

Consultation on routes to registration for internationally qualified dental professionals launched 

We are inviting comments on routes to registration for internationally qualified dental professionals. We are proposing new rules setting out the standards and processes for the assessment of international dental qualifications that are broadly in line with the current arrangements. We are also inviting evidence on how to assess the skills, knowledge, and experience of international applicants to the registers in future.  

This exercise is an important first step towards creating a comprehensive framework for international registration that will deliver meaningful improvements to our processes while maintaining public safety and confidence.  

Please submit your views before the 26 September deadline. 

European standstill provisions to continue for five years 

We have welcomed the news that European dental qualifications will continue to be recognised in the UK for the next five years under the near automatic recognition arrangements, otherwise known as the standstill provisions.  

Our Executive Director of Strategy, Stefan Czerniawski, said:

“We are pleased that the Government has agreed with our arguments that the current arrangements for recognising European dental qualifications should continue for the time being. Although in the longer term we believe there is a strong argument for a single approach to international registration, now is not the time to disrupt the flow of new entrants.

NHS England Long Term Workforce Plan 

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan has now been published, and includes some welcome announcements. The Plan focuses on improving patient care and has three workforce priorities, to train, retain and reform the NHS workforce. We expect further details to be provided by the eagerly awaited Dental Plan.  

The expansion of education programmes that lead to registration as a dental therapist or dental hygienist by 20 to 40%, and for dentists by 23 to 40% was welcome. As was the development of a new return to therapy programme, to help ensure dental therapists and dental hygienists have the support they need to fulfil their full scope of practice.  

You can find further details about the workforce plan online.  

Dental professionals' experiences of the Enhanced CPD scheme

The Enhanced CPD scheme was introduced in 2018, establishing a more flexible and personalised approach to lifelong learning for the dental team. Five years on, we asked Cardiff University to evaluate the scheme to help us understand the experiences of dental professionals, and how the scheme has been operating in practice.

Our findings indicate that the vast majority of dental professionals do not find the Enhanced CPD requirements difficult to achieve and that compliance rates are high. There are however indications that further guidance could improve understanding of some key features , including Personal Development Plans, grace periods at the end of a CPD cycle, and the application of recommended topics.  

We found that many dental professionals are motivated by their own sense of professionalism and desire to learn, but the view was not universal. The findings also suggest that some registrants take a more compliance-based approach to CPD, completing the minimum number of verifiable CPD hours, with limited regard for the quality of the activity or relevance to their own learning or development needs.  

We will now look at how we can improve understanding of key features of the Enhanced CPD scheme, and use the findings to inform discussions exploring any potential future changes that encourage the uptake of valuable CPD activities.  

Find out more about the evaluation of the Enhanced CPD scheme

Speciality curriculum for paediatric dentistry published  

Our public protection role includes maintaining specialist lists. Last week, we finalised the paediatric dentistry curriculum, completing the review of all 13 specialty curricula.  

It had been 10 years since the full suite of specialty curricula was last reviewed, and these latest updates will ensure the public can be confident that dentists are being taught the most up to date skills and techniques, and that they have the right underlying professional behaviours and attitudes.  

We would like to thank the speciality advisory committee members and dental deans who we have worked closely with us on these updates, and we continue to work with them on the transitional arrangements.  

The new curricula will be in place for the September 2024 cohort.