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Dentists with fake Romanian diplomas raise patient safety fears
An influx of fake dentists illegally practising in Belgium has raised concerns about patient safety.
The majority of these dentists come from Romania, according to the Association of Flemish Dentists, which has called the situation “worrying”.
The association said that, in many cases, dentists with a Romanian diploma have virtually no knowledge of dentistry and some schools in the country even sell dental diplomas outright, without a need for study.
“When they go before the recognition committee, they can't answer the simplest questions,” chair Frank Herrebout said of the foreign dentists.
Almost half of the new dentists starting work in Belgium do so with a foreign diploma, mainly from Romania, and a number of fraud cases have been opened in the last five years as a result.
But the recognition committee cannot refuse Romanian applications because Romania is part of the European Union, and its diplomas are therefore automatically recognised.
Even still, a large number of dentists practising with a Romanian diploma are actually from North Africa, having purchased the diploma in lieu of study.
“We know of public schools in Romania where you can obtain your diploma for a fee,” Herrebout said.
Federal MP Frieda Gijbels (N-VA) has been calling attention to the situation for some time, agreeing with Herrebout that the current system opens the door to fraud.
Research revealed that at least 27 cases of "intentional fraud" have been detected over the past five years and a report states that "not all indications of fraud are investigated".
Flemish health minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V) spoke of a “worrying signal” and plans to consult with the Recognition Commission.