No cut for 2016 dental ARF

THE annual retention fee for dentists has been frozen for 2016 after plans for a small reduction were rejected.

The decision follows a public consultation on the fee which attracted more than 900 responses.

The General Dental Council voted to maintain the fee of £890 for dentists – its highest ever level. A small cut of £50 had been proposed but this was voted down by GDC Council members. Dental care professionals will pay £116.

The regulator said it was committed to making dental regulation “more efficient and effective” and said the 2016 fee would allow it to make important improvements to its processes.

In 2014 the ARF was increased from £576 to £890 for dentists, a move the GDC said was largely driven by a 121 per cent increase in complaints between 2010 and 2014.

The high cost has been criticised by some parts of the dental profession.

British Dental Association chair Mick Armstrong said the GDC’s approach to fees was “borne of choice not necessity” and called on the Council to “bring registrants’ fees in line with comparable professions” and to “reengage positively with the profession.”

Commenting on the consultation and the outcome of the vote, GDC chairman Bill Moyes said: “[W]e recognise the strength of feeling expressed by many dentists and dental care professionals. We hope the improvements to the GDC's procedures that will be seen in 2016 will go some way to address that strength of feeling.”