The General Dental Council (GDC) has launched a 10-week public consultation on proposed amendments to the Specialist List Assessed Application (SLAA) routes.

This consultation seeks input from stakeholders on the ways registered dentists can gain entry to the GDC’s specialist lists, requiring changes to the GDC ‘Specialist List Regulations 2008’.

Katherine McGirr, head of right touch regulation at the GDC, said, "Our first priority is that only those with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience can join the specialist lists, to ensure patient safety. Subject to that, we want to ensure that those with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience can get on specialist lists, and that the application process is clear and does not present any unnecessary barriers.”

Proposed amendments

Oral surgery and orthodontics

An additional route will be introduced for applications based on UK-gained specialist qualifications where the applicant is not eligible for a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST).

Remaining 11 specialties

Current SLAA routes will be merged and replaced with a single assessed application route, which will allow applicants to demonstrate equivalent knowledge, skills, and experience.

All specialties

A new route will be incorporated to meet the requirements of the ‘Recognition of Professional Qualifications’ and ‘Implementation of International Recognition Agreements (Amendment) Regulations 2023’.

If future government decisions lead to the removal of the alignment of UK legislation with EU requirements, the GDC plans to apply the proposed approach for the 11 domestic specialties to oral surgery and orthodontics, aiming for a consistent regime across all specialties.

Although the GDC cannot alter the routes set in the retained legislation for orthodontics and oral surgery, it aims to increase transparency and fairness. Currently, UK-trained applicants without a national training number (NTN) lack a clear pathway for specialist listing. To address this, an additional route will be proposed for applicants with UK-gained specialist qualifications in orthodontics and oral surgery.

Consultation details

The consultation document, outlining the proposed changes, opened on July 4, 2024, and will remain open for 10 weeks, closing at 23:59 on September 12, 2024. Stakeholders are invited to review the proposals and provide their feedback.

Over the past 18 months, the GDC has successfully implemented changes to the SLAA process, including bringing the assessment of more complex specialist applications in-house, resulting in the clearing of the application backlogs. However, regulations established in 2008 to comply with European requirements have revealed challenges that necessitate further reform.

Concerns have been raised about the current routes, particularly the academic and research route and the absence of a route for those with UK qualifications, prompting these proposed amendments for greater clarity and consistency.

Invitation to stakeholders

The GDC invites all interested parties to review the proposals and submit their views. The consultation document, including the draft revised regulations and a detailed explanation of the changes, is available on the GDC website.

Responses can be submitted through an online survey or via email.

Consultation Period

Opening date: July 4, 2024

Closing date: September 12, 2024

For more information visit GDC consultation webpage