The General Dental Council (GDC) is calling for views on its proposal for a new exam to assess the competence of dentists from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who wish to practise in the UK.
The GDC's role is to protect the public and it has to ensure that dentists coming to the UK have the skills and knowledge to practise safely here. At present, for dentists from outside the EEA, this means sitting an exam called the International Qualifying Examination (IQE). Dentists who pass the IQE can apply for registration to practise unsupervised on patients in the UK.
After five years of the IQE, the GDC is carrying out a comprehensive review of how it assesses the competence of an overseas dentist for UK practice. The aim of the review is to ensure the GDC's processes are in step with developments in assessment techniques and, most importantly, are fulfilling their public protection purpose.
The GDC set up a review group, chaired by Denis Toppin, a dentist member of the GDC. The group has considered a variety of assessment methods including alternatives to an exam, such as individual assessment of a dentist's qualifications and experience.
The (General Dental Council) GDC will launch the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) - which replaces the International Qualifying Examination (IQE) - in September 2007.
The ORE will be in two parts:
--- Part One will consist of:
- a written paper covering clinical applied dental science and clinically applied human disease; and - a written paper in aspects of clinical dentistry, law and ethics, and health and safety.
--- Part Two will consist of :
- an examination on a dental manikin;
- an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) that tests candidates' clinical skills;
- an examination designed to test candidates' diagnostic and treatment planning skills; and
- a medical emergencies examination.
New candidates applying to sit the ORE must demonstrate that they have at least 1,600 hours clinical experience where they have personally treated patients in the dental chair. This experience can be gained during the undergraduate degree, during post-qualification experience, or a combination of both. Candidates will have to verify this experience by providing references from University Dental Deans or employers.
Current IQE candidates can transfer across to the new exam; and those who have passed Part A of the IQE will be exempt from the first paper in Part One of the new exam. Those who choose not to transfer will be limited to two attempts at each part of the IQE before being automatically transferred to the new exam.