GDC launches pilot for local handling of performance concerns

THE GDC is launching a pilot scheme in England to filter out complaints about a dentist’s performance that could be handled locally by the NHS.

Both the GDC and the NHS currently have powers to take action against dentists where there are concerns about performance or fitness to practise. To deal with these in the most proportionate and effective manner requires an early dialogue to ensure that the GDC deals only with fitness to practise cases while the NHS deals with other issues of performance management.

The pilot will begin this month and involve the GDC working with five NHS England Local Area Teams (LATs) over 12 months. Potential benefits include a more proportionate and efficient approach in dealing with performance management issues, focussing GDC resources on cases where patients are at risk and a registrant's fitness to practise may be impaired, and better use of the NHS performance management framework and local remediation to address issues where fitness to practise is not impaired.

It is hoped the results of the pilot will lead to an approach that can be rolled out on a national basis.

Chief Executive and Registrar of the GDC, Evlynne Gilvarry, said: "The General Dental Council welcomes the opportunity to work closely with NHS England on this pilot scheme. The scheme has the potential to enable the GDC to focus more of its resources on cases where patients are at risk because the dentists' fitness to practise may be impaired. Equally it offers the opportunity to make much greater use of local performance management systems for less serious concerns."

Dr David Geddes, NHS England's Head of Primary Care Commissioning, added: "The scheme will encourage an early dialogue between the NHS and the GDC to enable a more adequate assessment of the most appropriate organisation to investigate the complaint."

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