THE General Dental Council has expressed "extreme disappointment" that the Queen’s Speech did not include a Bill to reform professional regulation, despite "widespread consensus that it is necessary".
The regulator did however see the omission as offering extended time for a "fresh look" at how a more workable system of resolving complaints about dental professionals can be developed.
The GDC has long been campaigning for reforms to legislation which it sees as standing in the way of providing "sufficiently timely, proportionate resolution of complaints," disadvantaging not only patients and the public but also dental professionals. It believes that reform could ensure that patients' concerns are resolved at the right level and by the most appropriate body.
The regulator also sees legislative change as critical to answering recent criticism associated with its decision to raise its annual retention fee.
GDC Chief Executive & Registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry, said: "We have long pointed out that the legislative framework under which the GDC operates is very outdated, leading to additional operating costs and unnecessary delays for patients and dental professionals involved in a complaint. Over the last three years we have worked closely with the Law Commissions and the Department of Health in developing legislation that would help us manage complaints through a more efficient, yet robust process.
"We previously called upon the government not to miss this watershed moment. We are left disappointed that Parliamentary time could not be found for a Bill that would help us perform our role of protecting patients more effectively.
"However, we are keen to grasp the opportunity the additional time brings to work with other regulators, commissioners and patient groups to develop new legislation in time for the 2016/17 session."