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New figures emphasise urgent need for recruitment to struggling dental industry


  Posted by: Dental Design      28th March 2024

Earlier this month, the General Dental Council (GDC) published the long-awaited results of their Dentist Annual Renewal survey, revealing that less than 1% of dentists are currently seeking work.

Out of 25,159 respondents, just 15 are seeking work, emphasising the need to address recruitment to the sector. There are currently 5,500 dental vacancies in practices and hospitals across the UK, and evidently not enough qualified dentists to fill them.

The Association of Dental Groups (ADG) has long been calling for the GDC to take urgent action to increase the rate of highly qualified overseas dentists entering UK practices through reform to the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE).

2,000 qualified dentists, who could get to work tomorrow, are currently stuck in a backlog, waiting to take the exam.

The figures also reveal the hybrid nature of dentists’ work in the UK, suggesting the need for contract reforms or measures under the Government’s proposed Dental Recovery Plan to support the ability amongst current and newly qualified dentists to work flexibly between private and NHS care.

Just 19% of dentists only provide private care, and just 15% provide only NHS care. Over 65% of dentists provide a balance of NHS and private care. Legislators must consider this new reality if we are to retain new dentists within the workforce.

Neil Carmichael, Executive Chair of the Association of Dental Groups, said, “We’re delighted that the General Dental Council have responded to our campaign and published their dentists’ working patterns data. As the Government implements their Dental Recovery Plan, and looks to contract reform, it is of vital importance that we have a clear picture of the work being undertaken by dentists across the UK.

“As is clear within the figures, our sector is facing a recruitment crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with Government and the GDC to Fill the Gap in dental recruitment, ensuring that highly qualified overseas dentists can support our dental workforce.

“We await further analysis and outputs from the GDC later this year.”

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