Published: 24/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 34 35

Being a flexible employer means enabling good staff to come and work for you even if the odds are against it.

Central Cornwall primary care trust has come up with an ingenious way of attracting much needed overseas dentists to the area, who would normally have to go through existing regulations before they could start working.

Preshit Mulay is one of six dentists from outside the EU who have come to work as a dental nurse while they are helped to complete the English language test and three stages of the General Dental Council's International Qualifying Examination.

Preshit, who has been working as

'It sounded interesting, but I thought the UK system could be different.' When he got in touch, the necessary tests were explained to him with the offer of work as a dental nurse while he took time to go through the tests.

'I thought this was a particular benefit and would help my approach to the exam. In terms of treatment and the equipment used, it is the same here in the UK as in India, but the UK system is more evolved.

'I was aware of the shortage of dentists in the UK. It is becoming a bit of a craze in India with everybody thinking about coming to the UK. But the exams may put people off. It is unfair to ask people who have been working as a qualified dentist for seven years plus to do these exams.

'The trust has been very helpful and extremely good to me. I hope to work for them as a dentist.' Preshit hopes to pass the final part of the tests soon, and says being a dental nurse helped get him temporary registration.

The Department of Health is interested in the scheme and Dr Peter Knibbs, clinical director of the PCT's salaried primary dental care service, says: 'It means we can get to know the people and they get to know us. When they come to look for work as a dentist, we will know them well.'