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2 in 5 dentists who graduated overseas faced fitness to practice hearing without legal support

Post date: 04/10/2022 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 21/11/2022

Nearly two in five dentists (38%) who graduated overseas did not have legal representation when facing a GDC fitness to practise hearing according to figures obtained by Dental Protection covering 2018-21.

The figures, obtained by Dental Protection through an FOI request to the GDC, also showed that those overseas graduates without legal representation were more likely to receive a harsher sanction, compared to overseas graduates with representation. 81% were either suspended or erased from the dentists register, and only 10% received a ‘no impairment’ judgment.

In comparison, 19% of overseas dental graduates with legal representation were either suspended or erased from the dentists register, and 29% received a no impairment judgment. 

Dental Protection said it has been working with education and training providers to stress the importance of professional protection that goes beyond claims to all dentists but particularly to those who are new to the country and trying to decipher the guidelines. It is also calling on the GDC to make it a requirement for all dentists to have protection which includes support with fitness to practise proceedings. Currently it is only a requirement to have protection against claims.

Dr Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said: “These figures serve as a powerful reminder for all dentists of how important it is to obtain professional protection which includes the ability to request assistance with GDC investigations.

“Dental Protection supports dentists from the moment a GDC complaint is received, to its conclusion at a hearing, providing the very best legal defence and a team of professionals committed to achieving the best possible outcome for members. I cannot imagine facing this lengthy and complex process alone, without someone fighting my corner. Sadly though, 38% of dentists who graduated overseas do, along with 31% of dentists who graduated in the UK.

“I will continue to work with key stakeholders across the UK to help them understand the importance and value of comprehensive professional protection to dentists who graduated in the UK and those who join the workforce from other countries.

“The GDC may also be able to do more to help. It is clear in its indemnity guidance that dental professionals must have appropriate indemnity arrangements in place for clinical negligence claims so patients can seek compensation if they are harmed, and this must be declared before they are able to register or renew registration.

“We welcome this but would like the GDC to consider extending this requirement to include wider protection beyond just claims in the next review of its standards.

“GDC investigations impact on a dentists’ mental health and reputation, and for some have career ending implications. A requirement to have protection and support with regulatory proceedings would be helpful to all dental professionals but particularly for those who are new to the UK, are trying to decipher the various requirements and may be focusing solely on obtaining protection against claims.”


For further information contact Emma Mugizi, Press Officer at MPS: E: [email protected]  T:+44 (0)7773 598474

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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