MDDUS welcomes GDC proposals to reform dental regulation

MDDUS has welcomed publication by the GDC of an analysis summarising responses to its discussion document on dental regulation reform.

Shifting the balance: a better, fairer system of dental reform was published in January 2017 and sought to stimulate public debate on the future of professional regulation in dentistry. Feedback on the proposals was invited over a three-month period. There were 86 responses to the consultation including 51 from private individuals (the majority of whom were dentists) and 35 from organisations, including the MDDUS.

Commenting on the release of Shifting the balance: The GDC’s response to your views and next steps, MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: "We support the GDC’s ambitious proposals to build a new culture and encourage debate on reform. There is a great demand within the profession for accountability in terms of the GDC’s overall spending, particularly with regards to the fitness to practise function.

"We welcome the speed with which the GDC have initiated this review and their engagement with stakeholders such as ourselves. The welcome comprehensive fitness to practise review shouldn’t delay early implementation of relevant incremental changes."

MDDUS head of dental division Aubrey Craig added: "The fitness to practise process should focus on the most serious allegations, where there is a risk of harm to the patient. This will help reduce the number of unjustified final hearings.

"At present the Dental Complaints Service (DCS) creates too much of an overlap between complaints handling procedures and FTP procedures. We therefore believe referral criteria need to be revisited and we are pleased that the GDC will look at this issue as part of the review.

"We are particularly keen for steps to be taken to improve and streamline the early stages of the investigative process, prior to case examiner involvement. This would help ensure more efficient and fairer case handling for registrants.

"We welcome acknowledgement from the GDC on our wishes for a greater emphasis on personal development plans within the GDC’s CPD requirements, making it a greater part of the culture of CPD. Providing templates and guidance to let practitioners know what is expected will encourage greater ownership of professional development.

"We are encouraged by the GDC’s aim of reforming dental regulation without the need for legislative change. We believe it is important for the GDC to take forward as many proposals as possible without legislation, given the amount of legislative time which will inevitably be diverted to Brexit.

"It is equally important that the GDC takes the relevant stakeholders with them to develop momentum in implementation and to make sure that detailed processes and procedures match the scale of ambition."