Dentist addresses to be removed from GDC register

THE full addresses of dental care professionals will no longer be published on the General Dental Council website under new plans announced by the regulator.

The registration number would be used as the main method of identification and to confirm professional status. The town/region in which they live may also be included.

The move follows a long-running campaign by the British Dental Association who argued the publication of full addresses was "unnecessary, and out of line with other regulators, as well as a potential risk to registrant safety".

The practice first began in 2006 and since then the GDC said it had received "a number of concerns from registrants about the publication of their addresses". The regulator said it responded by reassuring registrants that a practice, rather than home, address could be published.

But following discussions with patients, the profession, the Department of Health and the Professional Standards Authority, the GDC has now changed its position.

GDC Council chair William Moyes said: "We must balance public protection with protecting personal information. Publishing an address does not interfere with our duty to protect the public, or the purpose of the register, but could potentially pose a risk to a dental professional.”

Greater emphasis will now be placed on dental professionals displaying their registration numbers in practices so that patients can then easily search the register.

The BDA welcomed the "long-awaited change" which they described as a “step in the right direction”.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong added: "The process of change is slow, but we expect the GDC to remain on course and implement this vital change. We hope that the GDC continues to adopt such a proportionate approach to all of its regulatory responsibilities."

A public consultation must be held before the change can be made, with a final decision expected at a GDC council meeting once it has concluded. It will then be confirmed whether the online register will display the name and registration number, or the name, registration number and town where the dental professional lives.