Role of Vocational Training
In England, a dentist can no longer just start working in an NHS dental practice. All NHS general dental practitioners in England are contracted to provide dental treatment. The local commissioning board decides how much money is spent on dental treatment in a local area and which dentists can provide this treatment.
Before a dentist can provide treatment, they must be on the Performers List. In order to get on the Performer’s List most newly qualified UK dentists will first have been employed for 12 months as a Foundation Trainee (FT) and undergone training.
Not all dentists have experienced FT in order to go on the List. For example, dentists from other EEA countries are exempt from FT training.
At present FT posts are in huge demand, as over the last few years the number of FT places has only been slightly more than the number of dentists graduating from UK dental schools. Competition for FT posts is fierce.
Overseas-qualified dentists will have already been alerted to this fact by the warning on the GDC website that passing the ORE does not guarantee a job in the NHS and the notice on the NACPDE website advising how difficult it is now to find employment in the NHS.
Information about dental foundation equivalence in England
Many overseas dentists who require a visa to enter the UK will have a stamp on their passport stating, "No recourse to doctor or dentist training". An overseas dentist who has this stamped on their visa can enter the UK but cannot apply for, or be appointed to, any training posts. This includes all hospital training posts and also Foundation Training (FT), formerly. This regulation must be adhered to even if the overseas dentist has passed the ORE or LDS and has full registration with the GDC.
Overseas trained dentists who have "no recourse to doctor or dentist training" stamped on their visa and have full registration with the GDC and have the correct visa to work in the UK and who have had clinical experience in their home countries could (if successful at interview by the practice) be considered for a programme of supervised employment in an NHS dental practice followed by assessment of competencies by their post graduate deanery. The clinical experience from their CV/log books from their home countries and competencies evidenced in portfolios compiled whilst working in the UK would then be considered and assessed by the postgraduate dean as FT equivalence.
Foundation training in the UK is required to be 12 months full time duration, supervised by an approved trainer. Training by equivalence may be shorter because the overseas dentist already has some clinical experience but the minimum period is three months. It is important to look at the website of the postgraduate dental deanery where you are hoping to find employment. You will find information on how the deanery plans their assessment of competence. There are slight differences between the deaneries.
After passing ORE or LDS and providing you have the correct visa to work in the UK you can start looking for a job in NHS dental practice. Many job advertisements request that applicants already have a performer’s number so one of the problems you will face is to find a dental practice that is willing to employ you whilst you undergo assessment. As soon as you have secured a post then you will need to contact the local postgraduate deanery as there are specific requirements for you and the employing dentist.
Please don’t assume that the process is the same in all areas of the country so check the Deanery website for information. One of the dentists in the practice needs to be your mentor during the training period. During training you will need to complete a portfolio of experience, a CV and prepare a personal development plan. There is usually a charge for the assessment which you will have to pay.
Please contact contact NACPDE for further information.