Sir, on behalf of the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) I wish to encourage former members and fellows of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) (FGDP[UK]), together with colleagues who have recently joined CGDent, to update their postnominals.
While honours and university degree postnominals may normally be used throughout life, the use of postnominals linked to membership and fellowship of colleges, academies and other bodies, including memberships and fellowships earned by examination and assessment, is more complex.
CGDent has issued guidance on the continuing use of FGDP(UK) postnominals (https://cgdent.uk/use-of-fgdp-postnominals/). This guidance states that, while postnominals relating to diplomas awarded by FGDP(UK) and the Royal College of Surgeons of England (Dip MFGDP[UK], Dip FFGDP[UK], Dip MJDF, DGDP[RCS Eng], Dip MGDS[RCS Eng], Dip ImpDent[RCS Eng] and Dip RestDent[RCS Eng]) were not affected by the transfer of FGDP(UK) into CGDent, postnominals which conveyed ongoing membership or fellowship of FGDP(UK), ie, MFGDP(UK) and FFGDP(UK), should no longer be used, as FGDP(UK) no longer exists. The only exceptions to these arrangements are honorary memberships and fellowships of FGDP(UK), ie, Hon MFGDP(UK) and Hon FFGDP(UK), which are honours rather than denoting ongoing, substantive membership.
Continuing use of the redundant, membership-specific FGDP(UK) postnominals - MFGDP(UK) and FFGDP(UK) - could be considered misleading, specifically to patients, and to contravene the GDC's guidance on advertising. Equally, failure to use recently acquired CGDent postnominals (MCGDent, Assoc FCGDent and FCGDent) contributes to the unhelpful misunderstanding that dentistry continues to lack its own independent standards setting body. In addition, it fails to convey to other healthcare professions and, more importantly patients, standing and a commitment to the CGDent code of conduct and, in turn, the standards established and promoted by the College.
In updating their postnominals, former members and fellows of FGDP(UK), who have not yet joined CGDent, may replace their redundant FGDP(UK) postnominals with CGDent postnominals by joining the College (https://cgdent.uk/join/) - former members and fellows of FGDP(UK) being eligible for MCGDent and FCGDent, respectively. In this process, there is opportunity for former members of FGDP(UK), who have obtained experience and postgraduate qualifications since obtaining their FGDP(UK)/RCS Eng diploma to apply for Associate Fellowship (Assoc FCGDent) or even Fellowship (FCGDent) of the College 'by experience' or 'by equivalence'. Also, all retired oral healthcare professionals (ie colleagues who are no longer GDC registrants) who wish to maintain a link with their chosen profession, are most welcome to join the College through the College's 'by experience' or 'by equivalence' processes, with opportunity for those who become Fellows (FCGDents) in retirement to join the College's recently established 1992 Circle (https://cgdent.uk/2022/12/07/college-forms-1992-circle/). The College's online register of current members can be used to confirm the membership status of any individuals using CGDent postnominals.
CGDent (email@example.com) will be most pleased to assist former members and fellows of FGDP(UK) in updating and possibly upgrading their postnominals, together with all other oral healthcare professionals, both home and abroad, wishing to join CGDent, which is increasingly gaining recognition and standing as a ground-breaking, world-first for the dental team.
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Wilson, N. Updating postnominals. Br Dent J 234, 135–136 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-023-5513-6