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Dental Protection response to DHSC consultation: Urgent action needed to reform GDC

Post date: 27/11/2020 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 27/11/2020

Dental Protection welcomes the commitment by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to modernise the laws that underpin the work of the GDC and other professional regulators.

As part of the consultation outcome – Reducing bureaucracy in the health and social care system: call for evidence – DHSC has committed to launching a consultation in early 2021 to modernise the legal framework of the nine health and care professional regulators. This commitment to regulatory reform would extend to dentistry and the General Dental Council (GDC).

Dr Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said: “Dental Protection welcomes the commitment by DHSC to modernise the work of regulators such as the GDC, with the aim of reducing the bureaucratic burden on dental professionals.”

“The high level proposals set out by the government are a welcome step in the right direction. But words must be followed by action. It has been nearly 10 years since the DHSC first proposed fundamental legal changes to allow GDC to take a more proportionate approach to investigating concerns about dental professionals.

“The vast majority of GDC investigations are closed without action, the end result being that far too many dental professionals go through a stressful process each year, while the patient who has made the complaint also endure a lengthy process with what is for them a disappointing outcome.

“Dentists and patients alike cannot be forced to endure another 10 years of delay on something so important. A clear timeline for next steps must be set out.

“Reforms to the Dentists Act could give the GDC more discretion to not take forward investigations where allegations clearly do not require action. The current powers of the GDC were framed more than 30 years ago – when a very small number of complaints were received, and the GDC could investigate each and every one. Now, over one thousand dental professionals are referred to the GDC each year, with very few coming close to the threshold of serious concern that the GDC was established to address.

“It is absolutely right that regulators are able to focus their efforts on the small minority of healthcare professionals that might meet their thresholds for concern and that they are able to reduce the burden and avoidable costs of unnecessary investigations.”


Notes to editor

For further information contact Ione Gyamfi at [email protected]   

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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