The General Dental Council (GDC) has announced that there will be no change in the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) for dentists or DCPs in 2018, for the third year running, despite its financial position becoming ‘much more robust’. BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said dentists should not be expected to subsidise the GDC’s “obsession with holding vast and unnecessary reserves of our money.”
In a statement challenging the GDC to explain its failure to reduce registration fees levels for 2018, which remain unchanged at £890 - the highest cost of any UK health regulator, Mick Armstrong said: "As long as the ARF level stays unchanged it will remain the clearest illustration of the GDC's failure to deliver on needed reforms. Our regulator will struggle to regain the confidence of this profession as long as it seems more concerned with funding pet projects than improving the efficiency or effectiveness of its statutory functions.
"The rationale for the ARF hike was a projected rise in complaint levels and Fitness to Practise cases which have not materialised. The GDC has used registration fees to improve Fitness to Practise processes, some of which have already borne fruit and demonstrably reduced costs. Registrants now have a right to know what their fees are paying for.
“Yes, we expect the GDC to take reasonable and proportionate steps to manage its finances as Britain prepares to depart from the European Union. But not to repay the profession the ‘caution’ rating from last year when admitting that the expected reduction in registrants has not taken place is not acceptable, especially while it maintains the most extortionate fee levels of any UK health regulator.
“We have already been asked to pick up the tab for the GDC's financial mismanagement. In 2018 dentists should not be expected to subsidise our regulator's fondness for mission creep or its obsession with holding vast and unnecessary reserves of our money."