Dentists from abroad have been caught up in bureaucratic red tape that is halting their path to practising in the UK.
Non-European dentists wishing to practice in the UK have to pass the Licentiate in Dental Surgery (LDS) exam.
However, candidates who completed the first part of LDS held by the Royal College of Surgeons of England are not being allowed to complete the second part due to a row between the Royal College and the General Dental Council (GDC).
The GDC announced it has ‘some serious issues’ with the revised LDS award, having inspected the first sitting.
A GDC spokesperson said: ‘While the GDC’s independent inspectors’ views on the LDS are no reflection on its confidence in the Royal College of Surgeons of England as an institution, the GDC has been working with the college to bring the LDS up to the required standard.’
In January 2011, judicial proceedings were served on the Royal College of Surgeons of England by a number of candidates who had taken the first of the revised LDS exam sittings, which had been deemed insufficient by the Council.
The students are seeking publication of the exam marks – a move that means the GDC has to consider referring the issue to the Privy Council.
The GDC has the right to refer the issue if it believes that an examination does not robustly test whether a candidate has the necessary knowledge and skill to practise dentistry in the UK.
The Privy Council may, if it thinks fit, order that passing the LDS does not allow candidates the right to apply for registration with the GDC.
The spokesperson continued: ‘The GDC is sympathetic to candidates of the LDS and appreciates that they are in a difficult position at present. However, the GDC is the regulatory body and must be assured that dental professionals are safe to practise on patients when they join the registers.’
Current and prospective LDS candidates are requested to contact the college for the latest information about the LDS.
The GDC has a statutory duty to quality assure all courses and awards that lead to registration as a dentist or dental care professional in the UK.
The inspectors’ report will be published on the GDC website at a later date.