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Having your say on the GDC: On a hiding to nothing?

18 September 2015

Having your say on the GDC: On a hiding to nothing?

Hello readers and welcome to this week’s newsletter. The team here paid a visit to the Residential for the MSc in Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry. In the past, they’ve been in Manchester but, luckily for us, we only had to pop down the road to Tower Hill to see the students in action. Be sure to check out the article below to get a snapshot of what students get from the MSc.

And now to news! Many in the profession will be glad to note that the GDC wants your advice. It wants you to tell it how it should be run in the next few years! Beginning on Monday 14th and running until 13th October the GDC’s corporate strategy 2016-2019 is out to consultation before it will be finalised. And they certainly have high hopes for the next few years.

“By the end of this three year period,” their draft states, “we intend to be a high performing and efficient regulator and to have brought about significant improvements in the quality of dental care for patients through supporting dental professionals to deliver high standards of care and through providing better information to patients.”

How to do this? Not coming bottom on the PSA’s league table of regulators would be a start. They plan to “turn their ambitions into action” by focusing on patients, professionals, partners and performance. For dentists, their “ambition is to have a much stronger working relationship with the dental professionals we regulate.” A laudable aim to be sure but is it achievable?

Well, to be fair, their relationship with the profession couldn’t get much worse.

Their first objective regarding the dental profession is to gain “a full understanding of the implications for dental professionals, and current dental practice, of the decisions [they] take to protect patients”. There’s plenty of talk of undertaking research, seeking views, and gathering data, but is this yet more empty rhetoric from the GDC?

Following the appearance of Ms Gilvarry and Mr Moyes before the Health Select Committee, a GDC statement discussed how the “Committee shared the GDC’s disappointment” and how the pair “both welcomed the opportunity to attend the hearing”. No one who watched the hearing would have shared these sentiments.

Following the PSA report mentioned above, Gilvarry herself said: “The GDC has been campaigning for legislative change to improve the effectiveness of regulation of dental professionals for a number of years… We welcome the opportunity to work to create a regulatory framework that is fit for the 21st century.”

So many of these problems are of the GDC’s own making, however, that the dental profession is right to be wary of any claims that the GDC will suddenly reverse a growing trend and suddenly forge a better relationship with the profession, after The Telegraph and the ARF and FtP etc. So many professionals has especially suffered due to the FtP process that the legitimacy of their claims does seem tenuous.

Their most infamous consultation resulted in a massive ARF increase that a judge found to be “unlawful”, so what about this one?

The question then becomes: Should you respond to this consultation and recommend what would make the regulation of dentistry a more transparent, competent force? Or should the GDC’s calls be ignored as any suggestions will be lost in the political doublespeak they seem to use on a regular basis?

We’d like to hear from you. Please comment below or send us your thoughts to editor@healthcare-learning.com. If you’re interested, you can find a link to take part in the consultation here: https://www.gdc-uk.org/GDCcalendar/Consultations/Pages/Consultation-on-the-General-Dental-Council's-Draft-Corporate-Strategy-2016-2019.aspx

Until next time…

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