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         The Ministry of Health (MOH), through the Singapore Dental Council (SDC), will introduce new measures to ensure the continued high quality of foreign-trained dental graduates seeking to practise in Singapore.

2.      The new measures are being introduced as the SDC had observed a high degree of variability in overseas clinical practices and the dental curriculum of overseas universities. To ensure that the quality and competencies of foreign-trained dental graduates who are eligible to register and practise in Singapore remain high, the standards of the mandatory Qualifying Examination (QE) will be benchmarked to the final-year dental professional examination taken by graduates of the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Dentistry.

Qualifying Examination

3.    Presently, foreign-trained dental graduates with dentistry degrees listed in the Schedule of the Dental Registration Act (DRA) can apply for conditional registration to practise in Singapore as long as they fulfill the requirement of securing employment with a local dental clinic or healthcare institution, subject to other requirements under the DRA. Foreign-trained dental graduates with basic dental qualifications not listed in the Schedule are similarly required to secure employment with a local dental clinic or healthcare institution. In addition, for this latter group, the SDC also mandates that they pass an examination to demonstrate the requisite knowledge and skills necessary for conditional registration as a dentist.

4.       From 2029, foreign-trained dentists are required to demonstrate that they have the requisite clinical knowledge and procedural skills to practise dentistry in Singapore by taking and passing a QE, before they are eligible for conditional registration. Passing the QE will grant eligibility for conditional registration, the usual route by which most foreign-trained dental graduates are first registered in Singapore. The Dental Registration (Amendment) Bill passed in Parliament today will give effect to this requirement, irrespective of the graduate’s nationality.

5.      The new QE requirement will be effective from 1 January 2029. This means that students who are currently enrolled in, or have secured places in dentistry degree programmes and would graduate before 1 January 2029, as well as foreign-trained dental graduates who already hold dental qualifications will not be affected by this change. They will be considered for conditional registration if they fulfil the requirements under the current DRA and until the measures takes effect from 1 January 2029.

Revision of Registrable Overseas Basic Dental Qualifications

6.      The list of dentistry degrees in the Schedule to the DRA will be revised. Holders of dentistry degreesunder the revised list will be automatically eligible to take the QE following the amendments to the DRA, whereas holders of qualifications not under the revised list will have to apply for permission to take the QE. The revision to the Schedule to the DRA will be done through subsidiary legislation.

7.      In line with the objective of ensuring the continued high quality of foreign-trained dental graduates, the SDC has reviewed the Schedule and will reduce the number of overseas dental schools and universities in the Schedule from the current 89 to 62. Those to be removed are schools from which the SDC had received no applications for registration over the past 12 years.

8.       The SDC will make available the revised Schedule by end 2021. The Schedule will come into effect in 2029. Students who have secured places, or are enrolled in the affected overseas dental schools or universities will not be impacted. They will still be able to apply to take the QE, and their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The revised Schedule will apply to students who graduate from their studies on or after 1 January 2029.

9.       MOH and SDC will continue to review the regulatory policies and practices in place to ensure high standards of professional competence by all registered dental practitioners.

2 AUGUST 2021

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