Dental Protection uncovers troubling legal outcomes for overseas-trained dentists

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Dental Protection uncovers troubling legal outcomes for overseas-trained dentists

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Internationally qualified dentists in the UK are more likely to face a GDC fitness to practise hearing without legal representation, and subsequently face harsher sanctions, than their UK-qualified counterparts. (Image: ARMMY PICCA/Shutterstock)

LONDON, UK: Over the last decade, internationally qualified dentists (IQDs) have made up an increasingly large proportion of the UK’s dental workforce despite issues such as Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. According to new figures obtained by Dental Protection through a freedom of information request to the General Dental Council (GDC), these dentists are more likely to face a GDC fitness to practise hearing without legal representation and more likely to be dealt harsher sanctions than their UK-qualified counterparts are.

The statistics outlined that 38% of IQDs who faced a fitness to practise hearing between 2018 and 2021 did so without a lawyer, compared with 31% of UK-qualified dentists. Of these IQDs, 81% were either suspended or erased from the dental register and just 10% received a no impairment judgment. Conversely, just 19% of IQDs with legal representation were suspended or erased from the dental register, whereas 29% received a no impairment judgment.

In a press release, Dental Protection implored the GDC to make it compulsory for all dentists to take out protection covering fitness to practise proceedings. At the moment, UK dentists are only required to have indemnity against clinical negligence claims.

“These figures serve as a powerful reminder for all dentists of how important it is to obtain professional protection which includes the ability to request assistance with GDC investigations,” said Dr Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection.

He added: “GDC investigations impact dentists’ mental health and reputation, and for some, have career-ending implications. A requirement to have protection and support with regulatory proceedings would be helpful to all dental professionals but particularly for those who are new to the UK, are trying to decipher the various requirements and may be focusing solely on obtaining protection against claims.”

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