MDDUS believes patients and dentists will benefit if reform proposals from the General Dental Council are implemented swiftly, fairly and consistently.
Following the launch of the GDC’s Shifting the balance: a better, fairer system of dental regulation, MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said: "The current dental complaints system is outdated and cumbersome. The often unjustified threat of regulatory action can destroy careers and reputations and lessen public confidence. That serves neither patient nor dentist.
"So we welcome the ambitious and radical plan from the GDC to shift the priority to upstream prevention from downstream punishment, to refocus fitness to practise work and to make the complaints process more transparent, consistent, fair and responsive.
"We look forward to continuing to work with the GDC to develop momentum in implementation and to make sure that detailed processes and procedures match the scale of ambition."
MDDUS Head of Dental Division Aubrey Craig added: “We support all steps that will make the complaints and regulatory processes less stressful for dentists and reduce the number of unjustified final hearings.
“Early local action is key to defuse complaints. In our experience, patient complaints that are dealt with quickly and efficiently between the patient and the practice are far more likely to be resolved.
“Wider reform is needed to achieve this. So we welcome work on a profession-wide complaints handling initiative that strengthens first-tier complaint resolution and the steps being taken to improve efficiency, transparency and decision making in the fitness to practise process. We believe focus should only be on the most serious allegations, usually where there is an apparent immediate risk of harm to the patients.
“We will continue to work with the GDC to help them deliver a regulatory system that better serves patients and dentists. Their challenge now is to turn aspiration into credible and effective action."