THE GDC is proposing the appointment of case examiners with statutory powers to make decisions in fitness to practise cases.
The case examiners would be drawn from a pool of dental professionals and lay people and would have powers to conclude a case without further action, issue a letter of advice or warning, or refer a case to a GDC committee (Performance, Conduct or Health).
Details of the changes are provided in a consultation document launched earlier this month. The proposed changes will require legislative amendment and follow a range of measures already introduced to help improve the FtP system.
The case examiners would not replace the Investigating Committee (IC) but, over time, would be expected to reduce the numbers of cases referred to the IC. The overall aim of this new role would be to ensure that resources are properly applied to cases of impaired fitness to practise and that process are transparent and sufficiently flexible to enable a tailored approach according to seriousness.
The consultation will run until 30 April 2012 and the GDC is keen to hear from all stakeholders who have an interest in the future of FtP, including patients, registrants and professional organisations. Respond to the consultation on the GDC website.