New to NHS Dentistry in England


Dentists who have graduated outside the UK

The rules governing dental practice in the UK are complex. You should contact the General Dental Council (GDC) to gain information about the latest registration requirements.  We would also advise you read the latest government information on working in the UK.

If you have qualified outside the EEA you will probably have to pass the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) before you can register with the GDC. 

Once you are registered with the GDC you will have to decide how and where you wish to work.  If you wish to work in primary care NHS dentistry, once you have found a position within a practice, you will need to apply to join the national Performers List.

When applying for the Dental Performers List you will have to show that you:

  • have completed Dental Foundation Training/Vocational Training or;
  • can demonstrate experience equivalent to Dental Foundation Training or;
  • are exempt from the requirement to undertake Dental Foundation Training, see below.

As HEE and NHS England come together on 1 April 2023, agreement has been reached that all dental applications to join the NHS (England) (Dental) Performers List will be managed in accordance with the existing NHS England Policy for Managing Applications to Join the England Performers Lists (published 11 February 2022). From this date all applicants who are not exempt from foundation training under Regulation 34 (4) (c) and who would previously have been assessed by the HEE Performers List Validation by Experience (PLVE) scheme will instead be invited to engage in a structured conversation process to assess their knowledge, skills and experience. There will not be a separate ‘PLVE’ application form and no fee will be payable by any applicant to NHS England.

The structured conversation will be conducted jointly by an NHS England Dental Advisor and a representative of the Post-graduate Dental Deans. If learning or support needs are identified, an educational/clinical support plan (ECSP) will be drawn up jointly by the Dental Advisor and representative of the Dental Deans and offered to the applicant using Agreement Terms to enable the applicant to practice under the terms set out in the Agreement. The Agreement will set out how success against the terms will be monitored and the process to be followed if for whatever reason the agreement terms are not satisfactorily completed. Until any amendment to the Regulations is enacted, the assessment of equivalence under Regulation 34 (4) (c) will be linked to the requirement of the ECSP and will be used to bring forward evidence of equivalence at the end of the Agreement Term period.

This process mirrors that already in place for EEA-qualified dentists and returners, and in addition to ensuring equitable treatment of all applicants, seeks to address perceived barriers to overseas dentists joining the NHS primary care dental workforce.

The first quarter of 2023/24 will provide a transitional phase to ensure that this streamlined process is managed effectively and safely. The following principles will apply during the transition period:

  • No fees will be payable to NHSE on or after 1st April 2023 regardless of where an applicant is in the process.
  • There will be no reimbursement of fees paid prior to 1st April 2023.
  • Applicants who have been included on the Performers List under the HEE PLVE route prior to 1st April 2023 will continue on that route and their portfolio will be assessed by former HEE colleagues.
  • Applicants who have not been included by 1st April will be considered under the new route described above.

For any further enquiries, please contact your local NHS England Office at