GDC announces 54 per cent ARF rise for dentists

DENTISTS are facing a 54 per cent rise in the annual retention fee (ARF) with the GDC setting the 2015 rate at £890.

This is less than the 64 per cent hike initially proposed but still a substantial increase.

Dental care professionals (DCPs) will pay £116 – a £4 decrease.

The new fee level was announced yesterday after a GDC council meeting considered forecasts and budget projections for 2015-2017, which had been reviewed by the auditor KPMG. The council was asked to consider options for the 2015 ARF based on three financial models. All three models involved significant fee rises for dentists but two featured fee reductions for dental care professionals.

The ARF has not increased for four years but since 2011 the GDC has seen a 110 per cent rise in complaints. This has contributed to rising costs for the regulator which the GDC says must be addressed with a significant increase in the ARF for dentists.

The announcement came on the same day that the British Dental Association (BDA) revealed that its application for ‘rolled-up’ judicial review proceedings against the dental regulator has been granted. The BDA claims the GDC has not provided sufficient details of the policy and business case supporting the fee hike – thus "rendering the regulator’s case unlawful".

The judicial review is now confirmed to take place at some point between 1 -16 December 2014 and should enable resolution of the case before dentists are legally required to pay the new ARF on 31 December 2014.

GDC Chair, Bill Moyes, commenting on the annoucement, said: "The decision taken today is directly related to the effective delivery of our primary duty of patient protection. The additional funds that will be collected as a result will enable us to deal with the very significant increase in our fitness to practise caseload experienced over the last three years."

GDC Chief Executive and Registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry added: "We will continue to seek efficiencies in the way we work but significant savings will require wholesale change of our outdated legislation. We will continue to press vigorously for a completely new legal framework, and meanwhile, we are working to achieve a significant interim legislative change which will improve the way we deal with cases at an early stage and reduce costs.

"In addition, as the number of complaints we receive is a key driver of costs, we are committed to examining why complaints are increasing and what we, and the dental sector, can do to reduce these."

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