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English Language Requirements

English language requirements are for general dental practitioners seeking admission to health authority dental lists in the NHS.

Dentists from EEA countries with a recognised qualification from a dental school in the EEA are entitled to registration under the terms of the European Community Sectoral Agreement on Dentistry and are not required to take the GDC Overseas Registration Exam or the  RCS England's LDS Exam. It is therefore necessary for the health authority to ensure that they have an adequate command of English before accepting them onto a dental list.

Communication with patients is very important to ensure that the patient is able to understand the dentist and the dentist must be able to understand the patient. In the UK many complaints about dentists are the result of failures in communication.

Documents demonstrating communication skills in English

Applicants who have studied or trained in the UK or Irish Republic must provide:

  • A certificate of graduation or postgraduate training from a UK or Irish Republic medical school.

If applicants have not studied or trained in the UK or Irsih Republic, they must provide one of:

  • A certificate indicating a pass obtained within the last two years of one of the current accepted language tests (or equivalent), at the required level of IELTS 7.5 or equivalent as defined by the regulator.  (Details of the standard are found in the application form for inclusion in the national performers lists NPL1); or
  • A certificate of graduation or postgraduate training within the past two years from a recognised medical school taught and examined in English - a list folllows of countries where the first and native language is English;
  • Australia
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Isles
  • Canada
  • Guyana (formerly the colony of British Guiana)
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • US Virgin Islands
  • United States of America
  • The following Caribbean Islands:
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Grenada
    • Jamaica
    • St Vincent
    • Grenadines
    • St Lucia
    • St Kitts and Nevis
    • Domenica
    • Anguilla
    • Trinidad and Tobago

AND one of

  • Evidence of three months professional employment from the past two years in a country where English is the first language, and current English language capabilities necessary for the work which those included in the list could reasonably be expected to perfom are documented in the references submitted as aprt of the application form; or
  • Agreement to a face to face oral assessment of English language skills in a clinical context with a clinician identified by the area team with a fee payable by the applicant to cover the cost of a face to face oral assessment.


Where a dentist has practised continuously as a general dental practitioner in the UK for at least one year and has been included in a dental list during this time, and neither the dentist nor the HA/PCT have received any written complaints in respect of their English language skills, the dentist would not be required to take the IELTS examination. HAs/CBs should seek verification from the HA/CB upon whose list the dentist’s name was previously or is currently held.

Information on IELTS

An information pack on the IELTS may be obtained from:

The British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester M1 68B

Tel: +44(0) 161 957 7755

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