United Kingdom
Extra exam sessions of IQE to speed up overseas dental recruits
By Ashwin, UK Correspondent
Nov 18, 2004, 01:25

A Government drive to recruit more dentists was given a boost today as Health Minister Rosie Winterton announced that extra sittings of the International Qualifying Exam (IQE) arranged to clear the backlog of overseas dentists waiting to take it has been a success.

Thanks to increased sittings of the exam since August, this year 181 candidates have already passed the IQE - a 120 per cent increase on last year's 80. All dentists who qualify outside the EU have to pass the IQE before they are eligible to register with the GDC and traditionally, dentists from overseas who wanted to work in the NHS were hindered by a wait to sit the IQE.

On a visit to an examination centre, the Eastman Dental Institute in London, Rosie Winterton and Professor Raman Bedi, the Chief Dental Officer met a group of dentists from non-EU countries who have just sat their IQE exams and are keen to work in the UK.

Rosie Winterton said:

"We are determined that more people who want to see an NHS dentist will be able to. This is why through working with the GDC and the Eastman Dental Institute, we have enabled more overseas dentists who want to practice in the UK to sit the IQE exam whilst maintaining the standards for dental practice qualification.

"By increasing the number of exam sittings, the number of dentists able to work in the UK is increasing and we are targetting these dentists by informing them of the vacancies available in the NHS and their benefits. Subject to them passing the IQE, they can join the GDC register and work in the NHS.

"This is just one of a number of initiatives we have undertaken to boost the number of dentists working in the NHS. Our international recruitment programme is underway and we are matching dentists to vacancies in the areas with shortages of NHS dentists, from next year we are increasing the number of undergraduate training places by 25 per cent, introducing a new contract for dentists and investing an extra 368m in the service."

Hew Matthewson, President of the General Dental Council said:

"The IQE is an essential exam to ensure that all dentists from abroad practice dentistry in the UK to the same high standard. I'm delighted that the GDC has been able to work with the Government to make IQE available in greater numbers and enable improved access to NHS dentistry."

Ashwini Dadhe, a dentist from Mumbai in India who passed her IQE examination in 2001 and is now working part-time as a dentist in Wembley while studying paediatric dentistry is enjoying her experience of working in the UK.

Ashwini Dadhe said:

"I waited months for my IQE exam date to come up and it felt longer because I was keen to start my career in the NHS. More exam sessions will help people like me that were waiting for a date to get through the system much quicker.

"My career in the NHS is very fulfilling and I have settled in really well, thanks to the support I've had from colleagues at Brent and Harrow PCTs. Working in England is a great opportunity and there are lots of options to study for post graduate qualifications."

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