The General Dental Council has launched a consultation regarding the level of Annual Retention Fee for dentists and dental care professionals in 2016. Crucially, they propose to keep the ARF at the same rate as last year, which was in itself a massive increase. Last year's ARF consultation was followed by an announcement that dismayed the dental profesion and led to a court battle between the GDC and the British Dental Association (which the BDA technically won, despite no action really being taken against the GDC).
The GDC are now conducting an exceptional consultation to:
Set out the financial and other information on which the proposal is based;
Seek views on the proposed level of the fees.
This will mean, in effect, that the GDC want the ARF to be £890 for dentists, and £116 for dental care professionals.
GDC Chief Executive and Registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry, said: "The GDC is committed to being a transparent regulator. This includes setting out clearly what the ARF funds and that is why we are launching this exceptional consultation today. We want to be clear with the public, dental professionals and our other important stakeholders about how we have calculated the fees for dentists and dental care professionals and how the income will be used to fund all our work to ensure patients continue to be protected and public confidence in the dental profession remains high."
Mick Armstrong, Chair of the BDA, was clearly unimpresed with the latest from the GDC. He said: "Today the General Dental Council has announced a consultation on not changing their fees. We hope they aren’t expecting us to take any comfort from this, as for 40,000 dentists ‘business as usual’ means another year shackled to the most expensive, and least effective health regulator in Britain.
“This latest announcement shows nothing has changed. Dentists are still paying double the average for UK health professionals. Registrants are still on the receiving end of the same one-sided conversation from a cavalier regulator, which continues to ignore its own failings.
“What we’ve not seen is any real willingness from a failed regulator to get on top of its day job, and to finally draw a line under years of mission creep. For our part we will be subjecting these numbers to forensic scrutiny. We encourage all colleagues to have their say, so we can see what GDC’s commitment to ‘transparency’ and ‘openness’ really means."
Anyone wishing to have their say on the consultation can do so by clicking here.