A spokesperson for the General Dental Council says the regulator is looking forward to ‘the clarity the new NHS Performers List regulations will bring on 1 April 2013’.
A single, national list, will now be held of all doctors and dentists working in the NHS and before they are accepted on to that list they will have to demonstrate their ability to speak English – whether they’re from within the EEA or not.
The GDC issued a statement saying it ‘believes it is crucial that a healthcare professional should be able to communicate clearly with patients and their colleagues within the dental team and says that the GDC (and its equivalent bodies in other European countries) must have the option of testing the language skills of applicants.
‘The GDC continues to be encouraged that the European Commission Green paper: Modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive recognises the need for competent authorities such as the GDC to be able to test language competence for EEA migrants.’
The GDC has argued to the European Commission, European Parliament and Council for Europe that the revised Directive anticipated this year should provide clarity for competent authorities and assurance to patients and the public in this important regulatory area.
In addition, the General Dental Council’s own new draft ‘Standards for the dental team’ includes a requirement for all registrants to be ‘sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English to communicate effectively with patients, their relatives, the dental team and other healthcare professionals in the UK’.
The draft ‘Standards’ are due to go to Council for approval in summer 2013.