Dental Protection responds to Government proposals on GDC reform

Dental Protection responds to Government proposals on GDC reform

Almost two years since the Department of Health and Social Care launched the consultation on ‘promoting professionalism, reforming regulation’, the Government has published its response, with limited details or specific timelines. But Dental Protection has some reservations. Dental Director Raj Rattan said they were concerned that the Government has not set out clear details on what they will do next and when

The Government’s response* says that UK’s model of professional regulation for healthcare professionals has become increasingly complex, outdated and is seen as adversarial and legalistic. They say this makes it difficult for regulators to be responsive to the ‘changing needs of the healthcare environment, to support the development of a flexible workforce and to protect the public in the most effective way’.

The Government says it will ‘prioritise changes to the regulators’ fitness to practise processes and operating framework’. These will aim to deliver:

  • Modern and efficient fitness to practise processes
  • Better support for professionals
  • More responsive and accountable regulation.

Responding to the consultation, Dental Protection also robustly made the case for the GDC to remain the dedicated regulator of dentists and the dental team. Dr Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection said: “Dental Protection is concerned that the long-awaited response from the Government does not set out clear details on what they will do next and when.

“GDC fitness to practise investigations are particularly stressful as they have the potential to affect the dentist’s career and livelihood. Too many dentists go through a lengthy and stressful investigation for the regulator to then conclude that no sanction is needed.

“It is welcome that the Government has confirmed its intention to give greater flexibility to the GDC to determine how they investigate concerns. We have always broadly supported this approach, provided there is proper accountability and consultation with stakeholders.

“While the Government’s response today highlights the importance of greater accountability and transparency to family members who have been affected by healthcare professionals, there is no mention of the same to the professions they regulate. This asymmetry of importance between the public and the profession does little to restore confidence among the profession.

“Today, the Government has also indicated that they want to take more time to consider whether the number of healthcare regulators should be cut. In the discussions that are to come, and through further consultation, Dental Protection will continue being a strong voice for the dental profession – and ensuring that they have a regulator with an expertise in dentistry. We want to see a reformed GDC, that both the profession and the public can have confidence in. A dedicated dental regulator is therefore essential.”

*See link to Government response

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/815261/promoting_professionalism_reforming_regulation_-_eds_HW.pdf

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