HSMP Forum Press Release
Non-EU Dentists Caught In Bureaucratic Tussle

Dt - 18th March 2011

Non-European dentists find their hopes of practising in the UK becoming more of a distant dream due to infighting between governing bodies.

Many non-European overseas dentists who wish to practice in the UK have to pass the Licentiate in Dental Surgery (LDS). However, candidates who have successfully completed the 1st part of the Licentiate in Dental Surgery (LDS) run by the Royal College of Surgeons of England and enrolled for the 2nd part were not allowed to finish the 2nd part due to what seems to be a bureaucratic tangle between the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the General Dental Council. The Royal Colleges are entitled under the Dentists Act to hold examinations and grant licences to practise dentistry.[1]

The General Dental Council, which offers a rather more expensive version of alternative exams in the name of Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) decided to treat the LDS certification offered by the Royal College of Surgeons as not fit for purpose in comparison to its own course. After a recurring delay in conducting the stage 2 exams, the Royal College informed the candidates that it may not be able to conduct the exams with any certainty in the near future due to threats and fear of being taken to Privy Council by the General Dental Council.

The HSMP Forum was informed by the candidates concerned that they received acknowledgment from General Dental Council beforehand that LDS is an alternative to ORE. The successful candidates were expected to receive registration with the General Dental Council of the UK in addition to membership of Faculty of Dentistry Royal College of Surgeon England. The qualifying candidates paid more than 2,000 in exam fees and 5,000 and more on dental equipment for preparation. After putting in a lot of time and effort, they feel let down by the Royal College of Surgeons, which claims to offer the LDS since the 19th century and believes in ‘maintaining highest standards of surgical practice and patient care’. Many are depressed about their career in their chosen profession and feel they are victims of unfair treatment. 

Mr Sanoj Majeed had to borrow money from family and friends for exam fees and various courses and equipment in order to prepare for the part 2 exams. He says, “The Royal College had advertised that they would be running two diets of the exam every year when we enrolled for Licentiate in Dental Surgery. So far, the College has failed on this promise without even realising the impact it is having on our careers.” He further said, “I have wasted almost a year of my career without being able to start practicing in the UK due to the delay in the exam. If I am to start the Overseas Registration Examination exam again from scratch, it would mean at least another couple of years of lost time and earnings.” Like others in his situation he feels helpless and devastated.

Ms Pragati Maheshwari took the exam in April 2010 and successfully cleared the part 1 exam. She accepted the invitation to take the part 2 (practical exam) to be held in September 2010 and gave up various employment opportunities to focus on the exam. She says, “I am starting to think that the Royal College is trying to abandon us half way through the exam process. Both the Royal college and the General Dental Council are ignoring the fact that the candidates are getting the short end of the stick due to their differences.” She adds, “Neither the college nor GDC seem to realise that it is much more than money that we have invested in the exam and no amount of refund will make up for the time and effort lost in preparing for this exam.”

Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of the HSMP Forum said, “At a time when the government is trying to lure the best and the brightest of the migrant workers, some of those who are present in the UK seem to be denied the opportunities and are being treated unfairly.  It is such a shame that the Royal College is unable to take a strong stand and fight for these deserving candidates.”

“People find it extremely difficult to get dental appointments on NHS with long waiting queues due to lack of required number of dentists in the country and due to the rather expensive private dentistry. Even in this ever growing ‘shortage’[2] of dentists the governing bodies seem to be more interested in pulling out each other’s tooth instead of at the least considering UK’s growing need for these professionals.” 

Notes for the editor;

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The HSMP Forum took its name from the UK's ‘Highly Skilled Migrant Programme which was introduced in 2002. HSMP Forum represents immigrants coming from non-European Union countries and as well those settled here and campaigns on various immigration issues, it represents people of all nationalities and cultures. It is an immigrant support organisation and campaigns for immigrants cause. The organisation's aim is to support and assist immigrants under the world-renowned British principles of fair-play, equality and justice and believes in challenging any unfair policies which undermines migrants’ interests.

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