GDC Delays Add To Workforce Shortage

GDC Delays Add To Workforce Shortage

‘Check, check and check again,” would be sound advice for many clinical activities. A recent statement from The Dental Defence Union (DDU) suggests that Dentists and DCPs’ should apply the same thoroughness to retaining their GDC registration

On this occasion the threat is not from a clinical procedure, or related to record keeping, but failing to pay the GDC on time.

The DDU has urged dental professionals to set up a reminder ahead of the GDC annual retention fee (ARF) due date, to prevent their registration accidentally lapsing. They reported that members have been removed from the register due to administrative problems when paying the ARF, such as direct debit failure. Whilst the GDC had finally introduced an option to pay the ARF in quarterly instalments this did mean that there are more opportunities for problems to occur.

John Makin, head of the DDU said, “With patients in some parts of the UK experiencing significant difficulties in accessing dental care, we need as many dental professionals as possible practising. Unfortunately, a small but significant number of members have been unable to treat patients after their registration lapsed due to bank errors or missed correspondence.”

While the GDC website refers to a target of three working weeks for restoration, members had reported waiting over two months. John Makin added, “It’s our responsibility as dental professionals to ensure we renew our registration, keeping our contact and bank details up to date with the GDC. But it’s also vital that the GDC makes the administrative process as simple and speedy as possible, which is not the case currently.” He added that this was “hugely disappointing” in the current climate.

The DDU is asking the GDC to simplify and speed up the process of re-registration for those affected.

As a precaution, the DDU suggested that registrants set up a reminder for when payment was due, whether it was annually or quarterly, and to check not only that the payment was set up, but that it had gone through. They should also make sure that the GDC has correct bank and contact details, check their spam folders at renewal time, and ensure that their CPD declaration has gone through correctly.

Including registrants with all indemnifiers, it is likely that the avoidable delays at the GDC are making their own contribution to the access crisis.

As John Makin said, “At the DDU we wish to see the re-registration process simplified. Not only is it extremely stressful for the dental professionals involved, who cannot earn an income while they await restoration, but it means many dental patients are experiencing needless inconvenience and delays.”

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