Dentists from the EU are four times more likely to be struck off than dentists trained in the UK.
Figures published by the Daily Mail after a Freedom of Information request show that over a third (37%) of the dentists struck off over the last three years qualified elsewhere in Europe, whilst dentists from abroad make up only 16% of the dental workforce in the UK.
The Daily Mail claims experts have pointed to the language barrier as a reason for more dentists being struck off from Europe, with the EU preventing checks on their ability to speak English.
‘We are committed to ensuring that only those dental professionals who demonstrate the necessary knowledge of the English language are able to treat patients in the UK,’ Ian Brack, interim chief executive of the General Dental Council (GDC), said.
The GDC has received new powers to check the English language competence of any new dentist before they can practise.
Powers to check dentists’ and dental care professionals’ language skills came into force on the 1 April, meaning all applicants will now need to give evidence of their ability to communicate effectively in spoken and written English before being allowed onto the GDC’s register.
However, dental professionals who qualify in a country where English is the first or native language won’t routinely need to show any evidence about their knowledge of English.
‘Our standards make it very clear that written and spoken English must be of a standard that enables them to be able to communicate effectively with patients,’ Ian Brack continued.
‘We now have new powers to check the English language competency of any new dentist or dental care professional before they are allowed patient contact.
‘If they do not demonstrate the necessary competence, they will not be registered.
‘This change will help to assure the public the treatment they receive is provided by a qualified and trained dental professional who has sufficient knowledge of the English language to practise in the UK.’