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The choice of in-person hearings is key to fairness, says Dental Protection

Post date: 13/02/2024 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 13/02/2024

Dental Protection has urged the General Dental Council (GDC) to safeguard the option for dental professionals to choose in-person hearings in the interests of fairness and justice.

In its consultation response, Dental Protection reiterates that dental professionals should not have to fight for the right to appear in person before the regulator that is bringing an action against them.

Dr Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection said: “The consequences of a GDC investigation for the dental professional can be profound so it is only right that if they wish to appear in person then they should be afforded this opportunity without the need for an application.

“Our view is that the default position should be that substantive hearings are in person save where it is agreed by the parties that they be remote or hybrid. While both parties may be content with fully remote hearings for the most part, this should not be interpreted by the GDC as an indicator for dental professionals to lose their right to have an in-person or hybrid hearing if they wish this.

“Not every dental professional is suited to facing a virtual hearing – those who are neurodivergent or struggle with mental health would benefit from an in-person hearing surrounded by a supportive network. We also know that a dental professional’s credibility can be assessed from their demeanour to an extent, which is better observed in person.

“If the default position of substantive hearings being virtual is coupled with a drive to reduce costs, it is likely that the GDC could be under pressure to push for remote hearings as much as possible, to the disadvantage of dental professionals. We believe they have the right to appear in person before those judging them irrespective of their circumstances or the nature of the allegations.”

The GDC consultation into the format of hearings closes on 15 February 2024.


For further information contact [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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