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e-Sabbagh United Kingdom

Dentistry in Britain

The British Healthcare system has several categories for eligibility to practice dentistry in the United Kingdom:

1-British graduates; newly qualified dentists are eligible for the GDC registration (General Dental Council)but, they must undertake VT (Vocational Training) for one year as a "trainee" or a VDP(Vocational Dental Practitioner) in an approved dental practice before they are eligible for unsupervised practice in the NHS(National Health Service) under their own contract number, an "equivalent" dental training can be considered instead, (so think about foreign experience...if you don't want to do it)
Practices will be posted on the Internet (check the relevant Deanery website for the names in the area you want to train) ,during this time the VDP will be involved in a CPT(Continuous Professional Training) under the name of
a registered dentist ,both will be compensated for their work.

Practices in the UK are a mixed NHS & Private(with a growing number of health insurance companies)
Example of the GDP charges under the NHS:

Extensive Examination 7.40
Small Radiograph 4.16
Composite Filling 19.76
MO or DO Amalgam 10.24
MOD Amalgam 40.68
Extensive Scaling 18.84
International Health Insurance

2-European graduates; no work permit required, no Language test required, no VT required and can register with the GDC to practice on their own unsupervised or in the NHS depending on their country;
-Denmark, Finland and, Sweden; need to complete a period of training before they can be fully registered.
-Austria; depends on their qualifying authority.
-France, Spain, Italy, & Portugal; medically qualified Stomatologists and Maxillofacial surgeons, do not qualify to register with General Dental Council, so they can't work or train for the membership of the royal colleges.

3-Commonwealth graduates; those who graduated from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malta (until 1978), University of Malaya (from 1997) and certain universities in South Africa; can obtain a full registration to practice on their own, unsupervised or in the NHS. BUT, they will need a work visa/work permit to do so.

4-Overseas (other than above) dentists; can obtain a temporary registration for the purpose of Postgraduate Training/Research and Teaching only (they need to be supervised at all times by the above categories (British, Europeans, Registered commonwealth graduates), can not work in a private practice and will need a work permit after five years if they have been granted the "permit free" period visa to start with and, the IQE for the full registration with the GDC.

A-Clinical Work
'Check our related Links for more info' In general:
"Permit free" training requirements:
1)-Written evidence of being accepted for hospital training (check our dental link for the hospital addresses)
2)-Currently registered or eligible for temporary/full registration with the GDC
3)-Intend to leave the UK on completion of the training.
"Work permits" training/work experience requirements:
1)-WPs. are issued to a specific individual and a particular job
2)-A high level of skill and experience individuals for whom no resident labour can match in the UK or in the EEA.
3)- It has to be applied on behalf of the applicant by an employer in the UK (Check the Department for Education and Employment for more details).

The GDC is the regulatory body of the dental profession in Britain, it grants Temporary (training)and Full registrations, It looks after the dental standards, and administers the (IQE)-International Qualifying Exam.

"Temporary Registration" requirements:
1)- An overseas qualification recognised for the temporary registration
2)- Registration form (blue form) signed by the supervising dentist (from the GDC)
3)-Your Passport
4)-Your Dental Diploma (translated, if not in English) + the original (in any language).
5)-You have to deliver the above documents in person to the GDC (see the London Address)

"Full Registration" requirements:
If you are not eligible for full registration you need to do the IQE ;It has three parts A, B and C and
a waiting list(so register early), you can claim exemption from part A of the Exam if you have
one of the following:
-Full MFDS Exam
-Part A FDS
-Part A LDS

To be able to register for the IQE you need the following documents:
1)-EEA passport (a certified copy of the validity & photograph page)
2)-IELTS (English Language Test), EEA Passport holders will be exempted from this test.
3)-An application form from the GDC
4)-University credit script
5)-Exam fee.

You can do an IQE course in London only; contact the "International Centre for excellence in dentistry"for more details, It currently costs 25.000 pounds for a one year course(Exam fees, living expenses are not included, of course).
If you can work in the UK but still in the process of obtaining your dental registration, sustaining employability outside/inside dentistry can prove to be very difficult.Think again!

In Association with


Postgraduate Training/Education

-Hospital Training
You might need part-A of the Royal Colleges membership MFD/MFDS as an entrance exam:
MFDS diploma:
-It has three parts: A(costs 300),B(costs 200) and C(costs 400).
-Part A+B is an Intercollegiate, held twice a year Spring & Autumn in London/Edinburgh and Glasgow/Dublin at the same time.
-It has a distance-learning course (costs 950); I wouldn't recommend it for foreigners outside London & those out of work as you will not be offered all the benefits of the course.

For more info about the membership registration and the distance-learning course, check the RCS of England Website (see Contact page) where you can download the exam dates and the application form.

1-Consultant Specialist Training: Normally starts with the House Officer post after graduation:

i-HO-House Officer(in dental hospitals)
ii-SHO-Senior House Officer(in district hospitals)
iii-SPR-Specilist Registrar(for 5 years after the medical school+1 year house officer post at a sergical department)
v-Consultant (Junior, Senior/clinical director)

Once you get into the system and have your first post as an HO/SHO, you might move up the training ladder only in the dentistry domains (there are 10 of them), If you are thinking about Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery career and you want to be a consultant (assuming you can as a foreign graduate!!), you need to be registered with the GMC & the GDC at the same time, to do that you have to attend the medical school for 2-3 years study, when you graduate you have to do a year House Officer Job to be able to register with GMC (General medical Council) then, you start your second period RCS Exams and move up the training ladder to achieve the "CCST-Certificate of Completion of a Specialist Training", Now you wait for you turn to become a consultant (when a new job is created or an existing consultant retires),consultants are required to manage their own departments, therefore management training might be required.

2-Non-Consultant Specialist Training:

i-Staff grade: You will need the followings:
-SHO training post (3 years required usually)
-RCS-MFDS diploma
-Very good recommendations
-No restrictions on your stay in the UK
-Fully registered with the GDC.

ii-Clinical Assistant:
-The entire above plus,
-A Medical degree (sometimes)

-General Professional Training (GPT)
Trainees will combine their VT period (as explained above) as (VDPs-Vocational Dental Practitioners) in the general practice for one week and, care in the hospital for another week as (HOs-House Officers) on a rotation throughout all the departments of the dental hospital, for at least 2 years duration, It will involve primary & secondary dental care preparing participants for the MFGDP or, MFDS Exams of the Royal colleges. GPT is used as an entrance to the Hospital-based specialist training (Consultant, Non-Consultant); it is still in its fourth pilot scheme in the North East of England (in year2000).

-Private Practice Training
There are several schemes to keep the GDPs dental knowledge up to date from the membership of the Royal Colleges (i.e. MFGDP, MGDS& MFDS) to the regional schemes (delegated to the deans), where dentists are compensated through the "Section63"of the Health & Public Services Act 1968 securing the efficient provision of general dental services; it will be mandatory to achieve a certain number of CPD hours in every 5 year period(check the GDC new guidelines).

-University Postgraduate Clinical Education
If you are an "Overseas" and interested in a teaching or a research career (in your own country!) you can study for Certificates, Masters, and PhDs, and, if you don't mind having less exposure to the clinical life, more expenses, contact the university of your choice for more information, remember that tuition difference between Home & Overseas students can be over 9000(If you can't work..then think about it carefully).

If you are a "Commonwealth" student; as you can't work in the UK, you can apply to the British Council or any other agencies for funding (check with British cultural mission in your own country before you plan your study) or simply check your roots!

Europeans; they are treated in general like Home Students (most likely you can finance yourself through various schemes) and get involved in either a research or a Locum work in the local Hospitals/Private Clinics, but practice your English first (Check Locum agencies in the UK, when you start your university, they advertise their services in the British Dental Journal.

Useful Contacts

*General Dental Council
37 Wimpole Street
London W1M 8DQ
Tel: (0171) 887 3800
Fax: (0171) 224 3294

*British Dental Association
64 Wimpole Street
London, W1M 8AL
Tel: (0207) 935 0875
Fax: (0207) 487 5232

*International Centre for excellence in dentistry
123 Gray's Inn Road
London WC1X 8WD
Tel; 020 7905 1233
Fax;020 7905 1282

*The British Council (for IELTS test)
Medlock Street
Manchester M15 4AA
Tel: 0044-(0)161 957 7755
Fax: 0044-(0)161 957 7762

*Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Licoln's Inn Fields
London,WC2A 3PN

*Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
18 Nicolson St., Edinburgh, EH8 9DW,UK

*Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow
232-242 St Vincent St., Glasgow, G2 5RJ,UK

*Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
123 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2,Ireland

*Postgraduate Institute For Medicine And Dentistry
10-12 Framlington Place
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tel: (0191) 222 7041/6762
Fax: (0191) 221 1049

*Thames Postgraduate Medical & Dental Education
33 Millman Street
London WC1N 3EJ
Tel: (0171) 692 3400
Fax: (0171) 692 3104

*Immigration & Nationality Department
Home Office
Lunar House
40 Wellesey Road
Tel: (0181) 6860688

*Overseas Labour Service
W5 Moorfoot
S1 4PQ
Tel: (0114) 2594074

*Training and Employment Agency
Work Permits Branch
39-49 Adelaide Street
Northern Ireland
Tel: (01232) 257471

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