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Dental Protection: Time to focus on getting UK dental regulation right

Post date: 03/02/2020 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 03/02/2020

The new Government should make swift progress in reforming dental regulation and enabling much needed improvements to Fitness to Practise (FtP) processes, according to Dental Protection.

In its ‘Priorities for the new Government’ paper, it said the General Dental Council (GDC) had made some positive changes to its FtP processes but had been held back by the confines of legislation that is over 35 years old and has not kept up with changes in dentistry.

Dental Protection said over 1000 dental professionals go through stressful and slow FtP processes each year at the GDC without facing a sanction, while many patients making a complaint also end up disappointed with the outcome. It said the GDC needs to have greater discretion – albeit with inbuilt safeguards - to not take forward investigations in case where the allegations clearly do not require action.  

The previous government responded to a consultation on wide ranging reforms but failed to set out details on what the next steps would be, and when.

Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, urged the new Government to move things forward quickly:

“Few areas of regulation in the UK are more overdue reform than healthcare professional regulation. In supporting our members, we have considerable experience of the regulatory
functions performed by the GDC.

“Fitness to Practise is an area ripe for reform. The current legislation which underpins the process is overly prescriptive, prolongs the process, and it serves no one well. The GDC will continue to be heavily restricted in the changes it can make unless the legislation is updated through regulatory reform.

“We urge the new government to publish a strategy, outlining its vision for the reform of healthcare professional regulation. This strategy should include a commitment to introduce a draft reform Bill by the half way point of its term.”


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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. Dental Protection protects and supports the professional interests of over 68,000 members worldwide. Membership provides access to expert advice and support together with the right to request indemnity for 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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