More Findings from GDC Workforce Data

More Findings from GDC Workforce Data

This week’s tip for CV embellishment comes from our regulator. If you have carried out a basic survey and then taken five months to write up the data, you can then describe it as a piece of research. That is what the inveterate ‘researchers’ at the GDC have done based on data from their optional add on questionnaire, which was attached to the December 2023 dentist annual registration renewal. 

Following some basic data released in March 2023, the GDC have now published some more detail.

According to the GDC news release, there is additional postcode location-based information on the proportion of dentists who are providing NHS care, private care, or both, and how much time they spent working in clinical or non-clinical roles. Theresa Thorp, Executive Director, Regulation at the GDC, said: “Today’s release is the latest addition to the growing source of data we have been able to gather, for the first time ever at this scale, from dental professionals. It provides further insight and a clearer picture of where our dentists are working across the UK.

Behind the claim to be offering something useful, there is less here than meets the eye. The GDC announcement on their news page gives no detail but links to another page. This page is basically the earlier 2024 release from March 2024. Indeed it appears to have not even been fully edited and retains the line, “This is a first release of the data that presents summary tables of counts and percentages.”

patterns data

It does however include an updated Excel document entitled ‘dentist work pattern data’ published on May 31st, the date of the GDC news item. This now includes two further spreadsheets showing postcode (first two letters) related data. The first shows numbers of dentists in each divided into clinical, non clinical and mixed categories. A glance at this writers postcode suggest that the response rate locally was particularly low, when considered against the number of local colleagues that they are aware of. The other sheet shows the answers to the question, “considering all dental sector work you do, which of the following describes the type of dental care you most commonly provide?” Answers are divided into, NHS, Private, Mix of NHS and Private, and Other. There is no postcode linked data on the hours or proportions worked.

When GDPUK reported on the first batch of data released by the GDC - reported here, we noted the overall 57% response rate which, must put its value as a serious planning tool into question.

There is general agreement that there is an embarrassing void where there should be accurate UK dental workforce data. This GDC work does not fill it. It may be better understood as a performative exercise designed to bolster the Council’s image, particularly with the NHS authorities, and Departments of Health.

Two further considerations, are firstly that the GDC plan to carry out a similar exercise with this summer’s DCP renewals. Given the larger numbers of DCPs, this could keep them occupied for a very long time.

The second is that if the GDC has the appetite and resources to do this, how can it begin to justify the eighteen months and still waiting delays in looking at the deaths of 16 registrants.

Registrants can only hope that newly arrived GDC CEO and Registrar Tom Whiting reads Stephen Henderson’s letter and gets a grip. - The Blog - An open letter to the new Chief Executive and Registrar of the GDC


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