PSA issues damning report on GDC

PSA issues damning report on GDC

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has reported on the findings of its special investigation into concerns about the General Dental Council (GDC) raised with them by a whistleblower, who they did not name. In their report, running to 306 pages, they said that the independence of the GDC’s Investigating Committee were jeopardised by various ‘objectionable practices’ that had not been corrected. The BDA has called on the GDC chair ‘to go’.

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has reported on the findings of its special investigation into concerns about the General Dental Council (GDC) raised with them by a whistleblower, who they did not name. In their report, running to 306 pages, they said that the independence of the GDC’s Investigating Committee were jeopardised by various ‘objectionable practices’ that had not been corrected. The BDA has called on the GDC chair ‘to go’.

A central area for concern was that ‘various objectionable practices’ were in operation during 2013 and could recur again. The PSA believes that those practices were allowed to develop because there was a lack of understanding or agreement by heads of department that each of the practices was objectionable and there was a lack of proper scrutiny of the work of the Investigating Committee. In the PSA’s view, these practices made it possible for the Investigating Committee Secretaries to exert excessive control over individual case outcomes.

The PSA expressed ‘serious concern’ that the GDC allowed an individual ‘who had no previous experience of Investigating Committee work to design the processes to be used for interaction by the Investigating Committee Secretaries with the Investigating Committee and to train others on use of those processes. It appeared to the PSA that practices that were unacceptable were developed by the former Head of the Investigating Committee and embedded within the Investigating Committee Secretariat’s working practices without anyone within the GDC staff realising that they were problematic until the whistleblower made their disclosure. The primary blame for this, the PSA concludes, ‘lies with the GDC’s senior management, not with the staff involved’.

The investigation commenced on 11 April 2014 to examine the GDC’s management of the processes and support for its investigating committees as well as its response to a previous PSA report. It also also investigated the adequacy of the GDC’s whistleblowing policy and the operation of this policy which it found to be inadequate.

BDA chair Mick Armstrong said: “enough is now more than enough” and has called for the GDC Chair, Dr Bill Moyes to go. He commented: “The BDA has consistently argued that the GDC is out of control and unaccountable. Once again, we can see why. The chair doesn't understand dentistry and has failed to grasp that a fundamental prerequisite for good regulation is accountability and transparency. As this report shows, he has a disregard for his peers and is not open to scrutiny by the Council. This is a disservice to both the profession and the public.

"He appears to lack any understanding of the significance of what has gone on and has, instead, sought to put up an organisational smokescreen. These behaviours are consistent with those we have seen previously and ones which we have already brought to the attention of government ministers. This only further reinforces the grave concerns and the massive loss of confidence the profession has in this hugely overpriced and underachieving regulator.”

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