More than 38,000 dentists successfully completed their annual registration renewals process with the General Dental Council (GDC).
The deadline for professionals in dental jobs to pay their annual retention fee passed on December 31st December 2012. The council has now set out instructions to follow for those who missed the deadline but still wish to work as a dentist in the UK.
These individuals will be required to apply to restore their position on the register, as inclusion on the list is a legal requirement for anyone working as a dentist in the UK.
The register is designed to ensure that there is a straightforward method of accountability in place for dental practices - with patients, members of the public and employers able to check whether individuals are registered by using the GDC website.
Dentists who wish to return to the register must undertake a series of steps starting with completion of a form to apply for restoration. They will then need to have a medical examination and provide a character reference, while also providing evidence that they have completed the required amount of continuing professional development (CPD) hours.
Upon completing these tasks, there will be a fee of £696 to pay, plus an extra £84 for each of the specialty titles they hold.
If dentists were working overseas when they were removed from the register, they will be required to provide a certificate of good standing from the authority in the country where they were posted, while those who stayed in the UK will need to explain the circumstances of their failure to remain on the register along with a letter from their former employer.
Gurvinder Soomal, assistant director of operations at the GDC, said: "We are committed to making sure those who want to restore to our register are helped through this process. But we are pleased that so many met this year's deadline."
Enforcing regulatory standards
In total, 723 dentists were removed from the register for failing to re-apply, while 737 removed themselves voluntarily due to retirement or career change.
The register is one of the main tools at the disposal of the GDC in ensuring public confidence in the dental industry and the regulatory checks in place. Establishing and maintaining trust between patients and dentists is one of the main priorities for the council, as set out in its new Corporate Strategy for the years 2013 to 2015.
To this end, it intends to analyse and respond to all public expectations in dental regulation, while delivering the targeted regulatory changes required to ensure that members of the public receive adequate levels of protection. It also works to make sure that new entrants to the profession are safe to practice and have received the appropriate education and training.
According to Kevin O'Brien, chair of the GDC, the council remains committed to transparent and proportional regulation that is consistent and fair.
"We also need to be responsive to changing demands, risks and priorities," he added. "Reforms to our fitness to practise and registration functions are aimed at enhancing public protection and increasing our efficiency."
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