Non-European dentists who wish to practice in the UK have to pass the Licentiate in Dental Surgery (LDS) exam.
However, candidates who complete the first part of LDS held by the Royal College of Surgeons of England are not being allowed to complete the second part due to wrangles between the Royal College and the General Dental Council (GDC).
The campaign group HSMP Forum said that the GDC, which offers a more expensive version of alternative exams in the form of Overseas Registration Examination (ORE), decided to treat the LDS certification offered by the Royal College as not fit for purpose in comparison to its own course.
After a recurring delays in conducting the second stage exams, the Royal College reportedly informed candidates that it may not be able to conduct the exams in the near future due to threats by the GDC.
The Forum said it was informed by candidates that they received acknowledgement from the GDC that LDS was an alternative to ORE. The successful candidates were expected to receive registration with the GDC in addition to membership of Faculty of Dentistry Royal College of Surgeon England.
Candidates from India and other non-EU countries paid thousands of pounds as examination fees and purchased dental equipments for preparation, but now they feel let down by the Royal College, which claims to offer the LDS since the 19th century and believes in 'maintaining highest standards of surgical practice and patient care'.
Citing examples of problems faced by Indian-origin candidates, the Forum said that Kerala-origin Sanoj Majeed had to borrow money from family and friends to prepare for the second stage exams, but was not near completing the formalities required to practice in the UK.
Mumbai-origin Pragati Maheshwari cleared the part 1 exam in April 2010. The Forum quoted her as saying: "I am starting to think that the Royal College is trying to abandon us half way through the exam process".
Both the Royal college and the General Dental Council are ignoring the fact that the candidates are getting the short end of the stick due to their differences.
Neither the college nor GDC seem to realise that it is much more than money that we have invested in the exam and no amount of refund will make up for the time and effort lost in preparing for this exam.
Amit Kapadia, Executive Director of the Forum, said, "At a time when the government is trying to lure the best and the brightest of the migrant workers, some of those who are present in the UK seem to be denied the opportunities and are being treated unfairly".
It is such a shame that the Royal College is unable to take a strong stand and fight for these deserving candidates.