Before beginning your application, it is important for you to determine whether you are eligible to apply for Dental Foundation Training (DFT).
You must meet certain eligibility criteria in order to be considered for DFT. These criteria are in place to meet General Dental Council (GDC), legal and other requirements and will be assessed during the longlisting and/or Situational Judgement Test (SJT) stages.
This criteria is outlined below.
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery (or equivalent) – your application form needs to state either date awarded or anticipated date of award. You must have a BDS (or equivalent) awarded by time of commencement of post. Equivalent qualifications must be achieved by the same timelines. If your primary qualification is not in English, you will need to provide a certified translation prior to the start date.
- Eligible for full registration with the GDC by time of commencement of post in line with the nationally agreed commencement date of Dental Foundation Training (1 September 2023). Please ensure you check the GDC website to determine whether you meet their eligibility criteria.
- Have less than 12-months experience working as a dentist by the time of the intended start date.
- This 12-month time period refers to full-time equivalent experience working as a dentist.
- All experience in posts at any level in dentistry count, irrespective of the country the experience is gained.
- Applicants with 12-months or more experience are eligible to apply to join the NHS Performers List via the Performers List Validation by Experience (PLVE) route. Visit the COPDEND website for more information.
- Please note that is not a requirement to have had previous experience working as a dentist to apply for DFT (e.g. if you will be a newly-qualified dental graduate in May/June 2023).
- Eligibility to work in the UK.
- Fitness to Practise.
- Eligible to join an NHS Dental Performer List (England and Wales only) by time of appointment.
- Inclusion in an NHS Dental Performers List in England and Wales (or equivalent in Northern Ireland) is a legal requirement and the only mechanism for a dentist to be able to work in NHS primary dental care services.
- All dentists who are able to obtain full registration with the GDC at the time of commencement of a DFT post (e.g. dental undergraduates in their final year) will be required to join an NHS Dental Performer List (or the equivalent in Northern Ireland) at the start of their training or, exceptionally, within the first 3 months.
- Deferrals of 12-months after the proposed DFT post start date can only be approved on the basis of statutory reasons. These include:
- Maternity, paternity or adoption leave
- Periods of personal ill health.
- DFT is not suitable for registrants who have not worked to the full clinical scope of a dentist for longer than a 24-month period, due to the risk of significant de-skilling and risk to patient care.
- DFT is designed for applicants to complete the necessary training required for entry on the NHS Dental Performers List (NHS Performers List) and hence to work unsupervised as a dentist in the NHS primary care dental services.
- Requiring Dental Foundation Training as the only route to access the NHS Dental Performers List.
- Dentists and dental students who expect to graduate or have recently graduated from a dental school anywhere in the UK are required to undertake DFT in order to join the NHS Dental Performers Lists in England and Wales (or the equivalent in Northern Ireland). This is subject to them not having completed more than 12-months of experience working as a dentist by the intended start date of the DFT programme.
- Graduates from non-UK dental schools, and graduates from UK dental schools with more than 12-months of experience working as a dentist can join the Performers list by other routes. Visit the HEE performers list page for further information.
- There are a limited number of DFT places available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Previous recruitment rounds have been oversubscribed. Therefore, priority will be given in the 2023 DFT national recruitment process to those applicants for whom DFT is the only route available to be included on the NHS Performers List. For the avoidance of doubt, these schemes are also open to Scottish graduates.
- In the 2023 DFT national recruitment process, applicants who can be included on the NHS Performers List without completing DFT will only be considered for DFT places if there are insufficient suitable applicants who have no alternative route for entry on the NHS Performers List.
- In 2023 the DFT recruitment process will be undertaken in one of two ways.
- At the close of the application stage, if it is deemed that there are sufficient numbers of suitable applicants for whom DFT is the only route available to be admitted on the NHS Performers List to fill all of the DFT places available, then applicants with alternative routes for entry will not be progressed any further in the recruitment process.
- If at the close of the application stage it is deemed there is no certainty that there will be sufficient numbers of such suitable applicants to fill all DFT places, then eligible applicants who have alternative routes for entry on the NHS Performers List will be progressed to the assessment stage of the recruitment process. If following the assessment process there are sufficient suitable appointees for whom DFT is the only route available to be admitted on the NHS Performers List to fill all available DFT places, then priority will be given to such applicants. Should there be an insufficient number of such suitable applicants to fill all DFT places, then applicants with alternative routes to entry on the NHS Performers List may be offered DFT places.
Please note that the DFT programme is designed to meet the requirements of the NHS Performers List and to allow those with little or no clinical experience post qualification to enhance their clinical and administrative competence and to promote high standards.
It is important to note that your application is likely to be rejected prior to assessment at the SJT should you fail to demonstrate a criterion assessed at longlisting.
Page last reviewed: 12 August 2022