No apology nor empathy for hard-pressed dental professionals from GDC

No apology nor empathy for hard-pressed dental professionals from GDC

The General Dental Council is standing by its decision to refuse the introduction of an instalment payment scheme for hard-pressed dental professionals, despite being made aware that many lower paid registrants are concerned that they may not be able to afford the forthcoming Annual Retention Fee payment due in July.

A considerable number of registrants, especially dental nurses, have expressed their fears that they may have to consider  leaving the profession as a result of being unable to pay the ARF.

Not only did the GDC refuse to introduce a Payment By Instalment Scheme, they also took the decision to top up the furlough payments of its own staff higher paid staff, to ensure their 80% payments were hitting the Government’s £2,500 threshold.  

The most recent issue of Private Eye highlighted that the latest accounts of the GDC show comfortable reserves of more than £24m, despite the GDC saying that it couldn’t reduce fees either because of “Wider uncertainties about our income this year.”  The article pointed out that despite Executive Director Stefan Czerniawski’s assertion in a blog that as a statutory body,  the GDC’s hands were tied, several other regulatory bodies, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council successfully operate instalment schemes for registration fees.

GDPUK contacted the Press Office of the GDC and pointed out:

“There is genuine growing concern among lower paid Dental Care Professionals, particularly dental nurses and self-employed DCP’s who have not qualified for grants or furlough payments and are living on Universal Credit, that they will be unable to pay the ARF in July. 

The plight of one nurse on a closed dental nurse’s forum on Wednesday evening was tweeted by the retired dentist @DentistGoneBadd.  The nurse had been made redundant and couldn’t afford to pay her ARF in order to pursue another dental nursing job.  A number of dental care professionals and dentists came forward to offer to pay her fees, but as a DCP pointed out, this was just the ‘Tip of the iceberg.’  Many other DCP’s expressed similar concerns that they would have to leave the profession.

In the light of these real concerns, is the GDC willing to reconsider its position on introducing a PBI scheme, bearing in mind that it seems a real prospect that the GDC will actually lose registrants as a result of financial hardship?”  

The GDC has been criticised on social media for showing little or no empathy for its registrants.

In response, the GDC again failed to demonstrate any sympathy or empathy for dental professionals.  An unnamed  spokesman for the GDC said:

“We understand that many dental professionals are facing hard times at the moment and as such the decisions made by Council in relation to the dental care professionals’ 2020 renewal were not reached easily or lightly. Council remains confident however that they were the decisions they needed to make.”

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