So (finally) it happened; as of 11pm on 31st January 2020, the UK left the European Union (EU).
Whether you were a ‘remain’ or ‘leave’ supporter, there is no doubt that the nearly three years since the 2016 referendum has been a rollercoaster ride with a lot of attention placed on the consequences of this historic event.
Working in a variety of practices has provided an incredible insight into the different mindsets of the practice owners; one has been ‘stockpiling’ as if for an apocalypse, and another is acting as if there is no such thing as Brexit.
In reality, during the ‘transition’ period, as negotiations with the EU continue with regard to how our future relationship will move forwards, there will be little change.
However, what happens when this transition period ends?
At present, no one is really sure – including the General Dental Council (GDC).
Interestingly, from my own perspective, it appears that most of the focus in preparations in practice seems to be related to the ability to gain/buy stock (hence the stockpiling). I have noted that it appears to have been largely forgotten (or lost sight of) that a number of dental professionals practising in the UK have qualifications from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
The GDC has provided comments on its expectations about how Brexit will affect those who qualified outside of the UK post-Brexit. Those who are already registered, who will be registered, or who apply to be registered before the 31st December 2020 (the end of the ‘transition period’) in the UK will not be affected by the changes in the relationship.
The GDC has also commented on the situation of those UK nationals who are undertaking education in the EEA/Switzerland. For these potential registrants, registration is based on the country of qualification rather than an individual's nationality, so the current assumption is that such individuals will be subject to the same arrangements as above.
The GDC is also encouraging anyone who may be affected by the changes to visit the EU Settlement Scheme website and, if necessary, take appropriate steps.
However, there is no commitment at present as to what will happen after the 31st December 2020. The GDC has stated that the arrangements for registration of those with EEA/Switzerland qualifications after this date will be dependent on the outcomes of the UK’s negotiations with the EU; it does state that it will share further information when the situation becomes clear.