A European route to registration – Dentistry Magazine

Published in the Dentistry Magazine 21.04.11 www.dentistry.co.uk

As specialist dental lawyers, we are often asked to advise dentists who wish to register with the UK’s General Dental Council (GDC) but who have qualified abroad in a country outside Europe (and therefore do not have a UK or appropriate European diploma).  In most cases, the dentist will have no option but to sit the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE), a tough exam which involves a wait for an available sitting, and significant cost.

However, there are sometimes other options.  If the dentist is a citizen of a country (other than the UK) that is within the EEA (plus Switzerland), then they may be able to take advantage of section 15(4) and 16(2B) of the Dentists Act 1984 (the Act) and apply to the GDC for their qualification to be assessed.  This means that instead of showing the GDC that they have the requisite knowledge and skill by passing the ORE, the dentist can try to persuade the GDC that their qualification meets the requirements of Article 34 of European Directive 2005/36/EC.

However, if you fit into this category, don’t go thinking that this is an easy option.  The application form you will have to complete is lengthy, and you will need to be able to provide a full (translated) syllabus for your primary dental studies, as well as details of topics studied and number of hours, and persuade the GDC that they meet the requirements of the Directive.  Your application will be considered by the GDC’s external assessors, who will then meet (as a Registration Assessment Panel) to decide whether to recommend to the GDC that you are eligible for registration.  The good news is that there is no fee for this process, other than the registration fee to be paid if successful.  If you are unsuccessful, you can appeal.

Note that, in an interesting quirk of law, this option is not available to UK citizens, unless they have acquired enforceable European Community rights – for example, by returning to the UK after a period of time spent elsewhere in Europe.

Tania is a solicitor in the dental team at Hempsons in London.  She is also a qualified doctor.  She has experience of acting for dentists and DCPs at the GDC in conduct, health, performance and registration matters.  She also has experience of Performers List proceedings and principal/associate disputes, litigation, and more recently has been advising dentists with regard to CQC issues.