Dental Protection has welcomed the General Dental Council’s (GDC) commitment to provide greater clarity on how and when it will use its formal Fitness to Practise enforcement powers as a solution to managing serious risk to patients.
The proposals have been put forward as part of the GDC’s Shifting the Balance consultation, and are aimed to ensure these powers are only used when dental professionals put patients at serious risk, or their actions damage public confidence in dental services. In the consultation the GDC says it has already widened the range of enforcement options available.
Dental Protection believes it is important that only the most serious issues are escalated to the GDC. It says clarification from the regulator as to which cases may be investigated by them will also be beneficial.
Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:
“The procedures the GDC have already put in place to deal with cases at a local level, when there is no realistic prospect or likelihood of a finding of current impairment, are a positive step forward. However, reducing the number of unnecessary Fitness to Practise hearings is also vital and something Dental Protection has consistently called for.
“The Shifting the Balance consultation positively demonstrates that the regulator is working towards this, and wants to make it clearer how and when it will use its formal Fitness to Practise. This is welcome news.
“Dental professionals often work in high pressure and difficult situations. On the rare occasions when treatment might not go as planned, it is important that lessons are learnt to prevent recurrence. However, as the GDC has identified, many of these issues could be resolved at a lower level.
“While safeguarding the public is vital, it is also important that dental professionals are not put through stressful and preventable inquiries by the regulator. A review of dental regulation is necessary and we welcome the opportunity to join the debate.”
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 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.