Since news emerged at the very end of June that the General Dental Council [GDC] was planning to raise its annual retention fee [ARF] from £576 to £945 per year for all dentists in the United Kingdom. This coincided with an announcement of a consultation on the matter of this fee, yet the fait accompli of the rise proposed was publicised.
GDC maintains a register of all dentists working in the UK, and it remains illegal to practice any form of dentistry without this registration. This monopoly held by the dental profession is there to protect the public from imposters, and despite this serious registration process there are always queues of impending prosecutions of people who feel they can practice forms of dentistry without a degree, training, nor the proper registration and indemnity cover.
It appears the large rise has been caused by the exponential increase in complaints against dentists administered by the GDC, a very stressful process for dentists who remain innocent until findings are proven. GDC accepts cases, investigates, and will proceed with a risk to the professional future of a dentist even if there is a single incident of complaint. This wall of actions has led to delays and blockages in the GDC processes, something dentists are finding unacceptable, and this is one of the factors behind the social media congregations in the last 48 hours.
GDPUK has had a large rise in visitors, one thread on the topic has had over 90 replies from dentists within 36 hours of the first posting on the topic. Twitter has been ablaze, and on Facebook, one page, The Project, in which dentist Prem-Pal Sehmi has commenced a campaign for colleagues to pay £576 when the ARF becomes due next December has attracted more than 2400 colleagues on Facebook, also within a very short time frame. [At the time of writing]
On twitter this image shows the sort of exchange progressing. The profession is like a bear which has been poked in the eye too many times, says Eddie Crouch of the BDA PEC and Birmingham LDC.
On the Government’s e-petitions page, Dr Vereen Gupta commenced a petition on the matter, and within 24 hours, this has over 5,500 signatories.
Statistics emerging on GDPUK show that the anger is derived from this rise in Fitness to Practice [FtP] cases, which GDC figures state are stand at 3,700 presently. There are around 24,000 dentists in general practice now, so almost 15% have a case against them. Foir na serious and learned profession, this alone shows the system is very wrong.
The Professional Standards Authority, which oversees the GDC, has reported its grave concerns with the running and governance of GDC, which seems to roll along, unfettered.
All the groups must unite and harness the energy being generated on this matter, so it is up to BDA, Facebook groups, GDPUK, Twitter devotees to keep up the pressure, ensure this campaign goes to the heart of its target.