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Dentist’s important international efforts recognised

International mentor: Latha Davda

International mentor: Latha Davda

A University of Portsmouth dentist, Latha Davda, has been honoured for a decade of tireless support she has given dentists in India transitioning to the UK.

Latha Davda, Oral surgeon and Clinical Director at the University’s Dental Academy, was recognised for her contributions to dentistry by the Association of Indian Dentists UK, at a recent awards ceremony in London.

Over the past 10 years she has trained hundreds of international dentists and mentored and inspired international dentists who have to overcome registration, employment, immigration, financial, social and political barriers in order to integrate into the dental profession in the UK.

She said: “The United Kingdom is one of the major destination countries for nurses, doctors and dentists trained outside the United Kingdom. The reasons why they migrate are multi-factorial. The migration of dentists to the UK increased after 2004, when the Department of Health, in order to improve the access to NHS dentistry, pledged to increase the number of dentists by 2006. Indian dentists currently form the largest non EU group of migrant dentists working in the UK.

“The Indian dentists have to overcome the barriers of English exams, registration examinations, vocational training by equivalence, immigration restrictions before they are able to practice in the NHS.

“I am involved in dental education in India and in the UK and, having gone through the process myself, I was able to understand the gaps in their education and decided to help them in their transition to the UK.”

Between 2005 and 2010, Latha and her husband trained about 450 dentists from 21 different countries for the registration examination.

She said: “The international dentists’ knowledge of dentistry was excellent and the bespoke guidance they needed was in understanding the health and regulatory systems in the UK, communication and patient management skills and cultural knowledge. The courses available at that time were few, very expensive and did not address the requirements of the international dentists.”

Her involvement with overseas dentists continues as she is now doing doctoral research on understanding the migration motives and integration of international dental graduates in the UK with King’s College London.

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