Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions - Answered

Over the past few months HEENW has dealt with an increasing number of enquiries and it may be timely to provide some advice on the differences and appropriateness of each pathway.

How do we get a NHSE performers number?

To enter onto a NHSE performer’s list and work in NHS Primary Care, UK graduating dentists must provide their Local Area Team at NHSE with their Foundation Training number (awarded on satisfactory completion of Dental Foundation Training).

Dentists from outside the EEA may complete DFT (if offered a rarely available place). Alternatively, they have the option to complete the ‘PLVE’ pathway.

Dentists from within the EEA (i.e. Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, and the 28 EU member states) must complete the requirements of the country in which they studied. It is then an NHSE decision as to whether they can demonstrate they are professionally and managerially competent to work within the NHS or not.

What are the aims of the Performers List Validation by Experience (PLVE) pathway?

PLVE aims to ensure the VED gains the full breadth of clinical experience available on the NHS in a supervised and safe practice, alongside an experienced clinician. It also aims to bring overseas dentists, up to the same level as a UK DFT in terms of their knowledge of working within the NHS and also with the requirements of English Law as it pertains to dental practices.

How is PLVE demonstrated?

This is demonstrated by the production of a portfolio of evidence derived over a period of training. The portfolio has sections relating to professional skills and practice management abilities. As the VED progresses through their training period they will acquire evidence which will enable them to demonstrate their competence in each of various required fields.

What about funding?

Unlike DFT there is no central additional funding available. VEDs complete their portfolio whilst working in an approved practice alongside an approved VS, helping the practice to complete its NHS contract.

What does the process mean for the practice Validation Supervisor?

On application to NHSE for inclusion on to the performer list, the practice where the VED will be working will be asked to name the proposed VS. This means that the proposed VS must be able to demonstrate their ability to supervise the VED. This is achieved through satisfactory completion of an appropriate training course or through previous, recent (within the last 2 years), experience within the DFT or PLVE programme. Once NHSE has approved the VS a referral is made to HEENW and the practice will be inspected by HEENW and NHSE. The inspection is required to check that the practice and facilities are up-to-date, safe and suitable for a VED to work in. This will also include a short interview with the proposed VS.

The VS is required to be present in the practice to supervise, advise and help the VED. They must be prepared to “channel” appropriate patients towards the VED, so they get the breadth of clinical experience. They may be required to assist the dentist in completing their portfolio, including specific advice on practice policies etc.

They must allow the applicant to take time out to complete any courses recommended by HEENW.

How long does the process take?

There is no set time period as this varies from applicant to applicant.

There are several variables that can affect the length of the process:

Time of application to training start date. This depends on the timely submission of the VED’s and VS’s applications and the availability of the Training Programme Director (TPD) for PLVE, the TPD for DFT and when the practice visit takes place.

  • Training period – must be for a minimum of 3 months for those with recent PRIVATE clinical experience in a general dental practice and a maximum of 12 months (based on a full time working pattern). Part-time training will require a pro-rata training period. There is a minimum requirement of 3 days clinical work per week.
  • The portfolio assessment – depends on the availability of the HEENW Assessment Panel and is assessed by a representative from HEENW and NHSE.

What about a ‘Competency Assessment’?

A ‘Competency Assessment’ is where NHSE assesses whether a UK dentist who has had a break from NHS provision or an applicant from within the EEA is competent, safe and up-to-date to practise.

Frequently NHSE will ask a dentist to produce a similar portfolio to that required for VEDs, because it is testing out the same areas of knowledge.

What courses would you recommend before/during training?

If you haven’t already completed the following courses, you will need to complete them as part of your training:

  • Introduction to working in the NHS or Equivalent
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Disinfection and Decontamination
  • Radiography and Radiation Protection

GDC Recommend

  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Complaints Handling
  • Oral Cancer: Early Detection
  • Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults (minimum level 2)

Other courses will be recommended in discussions with the TPD and/or the VS.

Information on courses can be found on HEENW website:

If I have a problem who do I go to for help?

You should speak to your VS in the first instance. It is their responsibility to give you advice and support.

If this is not appropriate, or you need further help (particularly with the portfolio) you should contact the TPD (see page 19 of the VED guidance pack for contact details).

What are the Educational Agreements?

The Educational agreements are signed by yourself and the VS and outline the responsibilities you both have during the PLVE process. By signing this you both confirm with HEENW your understanding of your roles.

What are Health Education England North West’s responsibilities?

HEENW is responsible for the quality of your training experience. They will ensure the practice and VS are suitable and capable for your PLVE. If there are any problems with the practice or VS, HEENW will intervene and make suggestions on improvements or changes. If HEENW is unhappy with the practice or VS they also have the responsibility to suggest changes as appropriate.

What happens if I need more time or if my portfolio is assessed as incomplete?

From the date you start work in the practice, you have 12 months (full time, or pro-rata part-time) in which to complete your training and submit the final version of your portfolio.

In extenuating circumstances this may not always be possible. If this is the case you should arrange to meet with the VS and the TPD to discuss your next steps.

What happens on completion?

Once the HEENW Assessment Panel are satisfied that all competences have been completed and that you have fulfilled all the requirements of PLVE, you will be issued with a certificate of completion by the Dean of Postgraduate Dental Education (this includes your PLVE number). The certificate will also be sent to NHSE who will issue you with a full Performer’s Number.