The aim of this blog is to compare the scandalous, criminal, modus operandii of the PO and the methods of the UK regulator of dentistry, the General Dental Council [GDC]. There are many, many similarities in the way they persecute their "underlings" by abusing their power, and their institutionally ingrained, total lack of corporate insight.
The inquiry into the Post Office scandal begins taking evidence today from the Post Office and Fujitsu, whose computer programme Horizon ruined the lives of many innocent people. So far only 4 people have been fully compensated. Here's how HIGNFY dealt with the story in 2021... pic.twitter.com/2azU8Vuvpr— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) February 13, 2023
Following the TV programme and the national outcry; politicians have now got involved in the idea of stopping the involvement of the PO in appeals by postmasters. This interference in justice, and in the fight to maintain power, the PO continues to delay the outcome of clearing the names of every single sub postmaster who has been convicted, injured, or lost money. This behaviour is the same as GDC being involved in appeals against its' own decisions. This has created a duplicate, in the denial of the basic human right to unfettered justice.
What has gone wrong in our UK QUANGO based governance system? The Government seems unwilling or unable to control the excesses of the QUANGO. The QUANGO gets involved too far into the quasi-judicial process. The QUANGO wishes to be judge, jury, appeal court, and the executioner. The balance of power has gone way too far towards these seemingly unaccountable bodies.
This must change urgently as this power has been used malevolently, yet their actions are still being justified by the GDC, and the Post Office.
Governance malfunctioning continues, and GDPUK has a further news story [due to be published in early January] on the same topic whereby an appeal in the High Court strongly supported by an eminent Judge against the GDC, is now to be appealed against by GDC, at further excessive legal cost to registrants.
There are so many examples of the GDC's egregious institutional behaviour, too many to list here.
During the last decade, GDC were pursuing so many dentists for alleged offences, they almost ran out of money, and this funding was and is raised entirely from its' registrants. To repair their finances, GDC decided unilaterally to increase its' financial reserves to remain at around £30 million, this was done by taking about £750 from each of 40,000 registrants over a few years, and placing those monies in its reserve fund which must earn a good sum annually.
During this time the GDC Fitness to Practise [FTP] operation was faced with long delays in justice, and this delay remains today. The Professional Standards Authority report condemns this aspect of the GDC operations year after year, yet nothing changes.
In this period the GDC advertised, [only the once, we believe] in a national newspaper, for more complaints against dentists. This was not repeated due to the enormous exclamation it produced. Was this part of a plan to investigate more dentists and build a larger quasi-non-governmental empire?
The tragic topic of suicides: Sadly, the ITV drama did refer to suicide and depressive illness caused by the PO treatment of sub-Postmasters. Unfortunately dental colleagues are only too aware of this issue in dentistry too. The GDC have been questioned for many years on this matter. They have not had to grace to answer this question properly despite multiple FoI requests.
GDC and their output of information: GDPUK does have an axe to grind; the GDC press and media office continues to refuse to engage with GDPUK, and it’s team of writers. That is, unless one of their junior managers emails us by accident.
Others have also found GDC far from co-operative, and this management style reflects the PO methods. Freedom of Information requests have become possibly the only way to seek answers, and there are multiple [dental] authors who specialise in carefully crafting artful requests to get some information released. It is apparent GDC devote significant resources dedicated to the dark arts of not responding at all, delaying responses, not answering the question, and then of course, redacting answers before sending out.
A simple solution to this would be insight by the GDC as a whole. The Council members and the executive officers. Make the press office transparent, give answers to questions in an honest way, do not act as if there is something to hide in every single enquiry. The present behaviour tells all colleagues across the nation – GDC is guilty of bad behaviour, it is doing everything to obfuscate. And this behaviour in hiding the facts further increases the profession’s suspicion of corporate malpractice.
The Care Quality Commission [CQC], another regulator of dental practice, cannot be spared from criticism here, either. They announced their arrival on the scene about 15 years ago, by publicly threatening dental practices with closure if they did not comply with their petty impositions of tasks and non existent regulations. The CQC has in itself spawned an industry of compliance experts to ensure a dental practice is not closed down. They have ruled by fear for many years, with threats to close the livelihood of dental practices. One example of their stupid over-reach, for more than a decade, every dental practice had to have a nutrition policy for their patients - even though patients do not eat or need to be fed for their dental practice visits. It is confirmed "meeting nutritional needs" remains one of the eleven core standards demanded by CQC. 2
The ITV programme, a sensitive and sympathetic tale, has exposed some of the systemic issues within our nation. Individuals in influential roles in the Post Office, indifferent to the concerns of the sub-postmasters, they ignored outside investigations, and prolonged the ongoing problems for the victims.
This unfortunate reality is evident daily to our self-serving politicians, and this TV drama has brought it to the top of the national agenda. It's essential for politicians to reflect deeply, a truly long hard look at the harm being caused in the name of running our country.
Whether this is about the GDC or the Post Office, this is really about the abuses of power by people who hold those reins. The power of unaccountable civil servants or Quangos [from traffic wardens, housing officers to name but two groups) have over the general public. How they systematically exert that power over us daily, it certainly seems unjustified, and more than unreasonable.
Our politicians must establish a stronger framework of accountability to elevate standards comprehensively. After they make a transparent solution in the management and style of the PO, their next target for total reform must be the GDC.
© Tony Jacobs, GDPUK.com 2024