GDC Publish Statistics for Registration and FTP in 2023

GDC Publish Statistics for Registration and FTP in 2023

The GDC have published their annual registration and fitness to practice statistical reports for 2023. Both reports include comparison data from previous years to show trends and changes over time. The Registration Statistical Report provides an overview of the GDC’s registration activity.  Some of the GDC’s highlighted figures include: 

  • The total number of registrants showed a 3.9% increase. It rose from 115,541 at the end of 2022 to 120,030 at the end of 2023.
  • The number of dentists on the register increased by 2.4%, and the number of all categories of Dental Care Professionals showed a 4.9% rise.
  • The GDC processed 11,476 registration applications from the UK and overseas in 2023. This was a sizeable increase from the previous peak of 8,979 applications in 2015.
  • On 31 December 2023, there were 45,204 dentists (38%) and 74,826 DCPs (62%). Dental nurses represent the largest group of DCPs with 61,774 registrations, followed by dental hygienists, dental therapists, dental technicians, orthodontic therapists and clinical dental technicians.

There is a large amount of EDI data. One interesting observation is that by far the biggest change regarding religion, sexual orientation and marital status of both dentist and DCPs is a dramatic reduction in the percentage shown as unknown. Not to be confused with the ‘prefer not to say’ group, which generally has remained stable, this may suggest a change in how the questions are framed.

The Fitness to Practice Report details the key activities and outcomes related to fitness to practise cases. It includes information on the types and sources of concerns raised, demographic profiles of dental professionals involved, and the outcomes of the investigations. Risk averse GDPUK readers may be particularly interested in the fitness to practise ‘considerations’ profile, which is a summary of the types of allegations that led to a hearing.

  • There was a small increase in the number of new concerns received, with 1,297 in 2023, against 1,264 in 2022.
  • The proportion of cases closed without further action rose to 35% in 2023, an increase from 26% in 2022.  More concerns were resolved at an earlier stage, without the need for formal proceedings.
  • Cases closed with advice increased to 14%, compared to 11% in 2022. Cases closed with a warning slightly decreased to 14%, down from 15% in the previous year.
  • There was a 15% drop in the number of cases referred to a Practice Committee for hearings – 132 in 2023 compared to 156 in 2022.

A helpful graphic shows the possible outcomes when the GDC receive a concern about a registrant. Taking 100 notifications, 86 will progress to assessment and of these 13 will go to a hearing. From the 13 hearings there will be 11 sanctions and 2 instances of no further action. An insight into the pace of FTP is given in the explanatory note that: “This is illustrative of where the decisions to close cases were made and includes cases that started in previous years, rather than reflecting the outcomes for concerns received in 2023, many of which are yet to be resolved.”

Looking at trends in case progress from 2021 it appears that the proportion going to the case examiner stage has been reduced, however those reaching a hearing are more likely to be sanctioned. There appear to have been some improvement in dealing with the backlog in that while new case numbers rose by 3%, assessment decisions increased by 14%. The assessment caseload at the end of the year also reduced from 991 at the end of 202, to 618 at the end of 2023.

The league of sources of concerns is dominated by patients at 48%. The percentage from other registrants has decreased from 9% in 2022 to 7% in 2023, and the GDC itself has dropped from 10% to 5% over the same period.

One graphic compares the percentage of registrants against concerns raised, by region. There are clear differences and registrants in London will hope that indemnifiers do not introduce regional bands for their subscriptions.

There are some KPI’s showing the GDCs performance. A particularly damming graphic shows that against the KPI ‘Fitness to Practise cases completing investigation stage within six months of receipt 2021 – 2023’ the best quarterly performance was when 36% of cases failed to meet the target. At its worst 57% took over the six month limit. The GDC also appear to have not proof read their own report, with figures provided for 2021, 2022, and a further set shown as being for 2022, but presumably for 2023 and incorrectly labelled.

At the end of the FTP process the percentage of erasures increased in 2023, while that for immediate suspension decreased.

Registrants wondering where their retention fee goes will see that there were 1058 hearing days in 2023 with the average initial hearing taking 5 days.

The considerations profile is presented as a table and has “failure to provide good quality care” as the leader at 23%, a reduction on the 29% of 2021. Personal behaviours follows at 18% and has increased. Protecting patients from risks, Patient records, Laws and regulations, and Not communicating effectively, all accounted for over 5% of the considerations.

Once again there is an EDI section, and it will raise some concerns in the profession. There is also another mislabelled graph. Despite this it is possible to see that older dentists in the 51 to 60 age group are more likely to have concerns raised than those in the 22 to 30 demographic. Men are more likely to find themselves in the FTP process than women. With ethnicity, whilst white dentists represent 49% of the register they account for 41% of the concerns, whilst Asian/Asian British dentists who represent 29% of the register, receive 33% of the FTP concerns.

The GDC state that: “Almost 90% of FTP cases are generated outside of the GDC. The proportion of cases progressed throughout the FTP system, when measured by ethnic group, remain consistent at each point of the system. This indicates that our process does not exacerbate any apparent ethnicity bias.”

Registration Statistical Report 2023 (gdc-uk.org)

Another mis-labelled gragh:

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