EU Exit: Implications for the dental workforce

05 November 2018
4 min read

On October 12, the government published a technical notice on how recognition of European professional qualifications might be handled in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. The notice itself is unremarkable. Sitting behind it, however, is a situation of significant complexity and uncertainty.

The European law on mutual recognition – the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive, or MRPQ – is a key part of the European framework for free movement of people. There is a strong possibility – perhaps an inevitability – that in a Brexit strategy that places great emphasis on ending free movement, its days are numbered. At the GDC we have been analysing the range of scenarios that might play out in a post-MRPQ world.

At present, 17 per cent of dentists on the UK register are European qualified. In a typical year, 23 per cent of new applications are from Europe, and MRPQ requires that they are recognised automatically by the GDC. So, a significant proportion of dental care in the UK is currently provided by EU qualified dentists – and critically, those dentists are not evenly distributed. Some parts of the country – including some rural, coastal and deprived areas – are very heavily dependent on European dentists.

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