Organisation pledges to reduce barriers for overseas dental professionals

28 February 2024

The International Dental Organisation UK (IDO UK) will formally launch in London on March 6, 2024. It aims to improve the quality of dental care and access to it and to support overseas dentists in joining the UK dentistry workforce.

IDO UK’s core mission is to support the UK dental industry by increasing the quality of dental care and improving access for consumers. IDO will also focus on reducing barriers for overseas dentists to practice in the UK to help bridge the deepening gap in the dental workforce.

Many thousands of qualified overseas dentists want to practice in the UK, some of whom are already in the country working as dental nurses or in unrelated sectors. However, IDO UK believes registration processes are blocking easy recruitment. The organisation says reducing barriers for overseas dentists to join the UK dental workforce would significantly reduce pressure on the UK dental industry and improve patient care.

The overseas registration exam (ORE), which overseas qualified dentists must pass to register with the General Dental Council and practice in the UK, is characterised by delays and long waiting times, with applicants sometimes waiting up to two years to complete the exam. There are also high costs associated with the process.

As well as pushing for reforms to UK dental registration systems, IDO UK aims to improve the quality of oral healthcare and advocate for high standards of patient care. Its vision is to create a vibrant community of dental professionals, both national and domestic, across the country and drive innovation, collaboration and continuous improvements within the sector.

Commenting on the launch, Neil Carmichael, chair of the Association of Dental Groups (ADG) and IDO UK trustee, said, “The Association of Dental Groups is delighted to support the work of the IDO. We know international recruitment is essential for the future of dentistry in the UK, so the IDO’s role as a support structure, pathway to registration as a dentist, and beacon for professional development is incredibly valuable in delivering effective workforce planning.”