Dental advisers to speed up GDC case handling

A PANEL of dentists through NCAS (National Clinical Assessment Service) will provide clinical advice to the GDC to help speed up the handling of complaints against dental professionals.

This is the latest in a raft of measures announced by The General Dental Council (GDC) aimed at improving case handling.

Currently all cases involving complaints about clinical treatment are referred to the GDC’s Investigating Committee for consideration – a process that may take six months and often results in no further action.

Starting in early 2012 the GDC will seek clinical advice at a much earlier stage than at present and this advice will be provided by a panel of dental advisers through an arrangement with NCAS. Seeking a clinical opinion at a much earlier stage will allow the GDC to assess whether the case needs to be referred on to the Investigating Committee.

In addition, the new process will involve notifying dental professionals sooner that a complaint has been made against them, enabling them to provide records and relevant information to the GDC at an earlier stage.

Director of Regulation at the GDC, Neil Marshall said: "The changes we are making to our Fitness to Practise processes are all aimed at improving the quality and speed of complaints handling to ensure patients are protected effectively. This arrangement with NCAS will be key to making sure there are no unnecessary delays in assessing the clinical aspects of cases."