We will increase the number of Part 2 sittings of the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) from three to four in 2024, after reaching an agreement with consortium partners to extend contract arrangements to March 2025.
We are also increasing the size of our registration casework team and the number of independent assessors to help tackle the backlog in overseas applications.
The next sitting of the ORE Part 2 will be held from 16 to 19 November 2023, and we are planning to hold sittings in January, April, September and November in 2024.
Over recent years we have been able to offer a maximum of three sittings of the ORE Part 2 per year, providing for 432 places. This will be increased to a minimum of four sittings in 2024, a 33% increase in exam places.
There are currently 520 candidates eligible to sit the ORE Part 2. We have worked closely with our consortium partners to be able to offer additional places, which will provide a better opportunity for candidates to secure a place on the exam. Dentists who qualify outside the UK or Europe must first pass the ORE to be eligible for registration.
The additional capacity for the ORE Part 2 follows the recent threefold increase in ORE Part 1 places. The ORE is made up of two parts and candidates are allowed four attempts at each part. The current pass rate for Part 2 is 45%.
We are also announcing that we are doubling the size of our registration casework team and that we have taken on more independent assessors.
These additional caseworkers will be focused on processing applications to join the dental care professional (DCP) register from those who qualify outside the UK, which will help to increase the number of applications assessed each month from the current 150 to around 250.
While there continues to be a considerable backlog in applications, legislative reforms made in March this year have reduced the number of new applications to historical levels, as evidenced by the fact that, in June, we received 30 applications for this route to registration.
Alongside assessments of qualifications and skills, our registration processes include checking the health, character and language skills of all applicants to the UK register. These processes play an integral role in protecting the public.
Gurvinder Soomal, GDC Chief Operating Officer, said:
“We are pleased to have secured these additional places for the ORE Part 2. We’ve worked with our partners over recent months to boost ORE capacity and, combined with the recent tripling of ORE Part 1 places, more candidates will have the opportunity to sit the ORE and be able to become registered dentists in the UK.
“Planning for the procurement of the ORE for 2025 and beyond has also begun. We are currently calling for evidence for the assessment of international dentists’ qualifications, knowledge and skills, to help inform this exercise.
“We’re also delighted to announce that we are recruiting more caseworkers to the team in Birmingham, and hope this will lead to faster processing of the backlog of outstanding applications to the register, following the closure of this route to qualified dentists on 8 March 2023.”