GDC to “support and empower” dental profession

PREVENTION will form the focus of activity at the General Dental Council as the regulator promises a system that is fairer for dental professionals and safer for patients.

The GDC announced that later this month it will outline initiatives to improve regulation by placing greater emphasis on “supporting and empowering the profession”, such as through increased education and learning.

The new approach will mean a more collaborative relationship with the dental team, with the GDC hoping to “achieve common goals such as embedding the Standards that promote learning and support dental professionals during their entire career.”

Enforcement powers, the GDC said, will only be used when dental professionals put patients at serious risk or damage public confidence in dentistry.

GDC chair Bill Moyes said: “The current model of dental professional regulation has become outdated, cumbersome and inefficient.

“Too much of our activity is focused on responding to harm. While such enforcement action is sometimes necessary, we should focus our efforts on supporting dental professionals to prevent that harm from occurring in the first place.

“By refocusing our efforts and changing the way we do things, we can make the system better for patients and fairer for dental professionals, strengthen public confidence in the profession and minimise the level of enforcement action required by the GDC.

“By providing dental professionals with the information and tools they need to meet and maintain high professional standards, it is hoped the GDC will have a more constructive relationship with the professions which it regulates.”

GDC chief executive Ian Brack said the regulator had been engaging with the profession and stakeholders for the past year.

“This is probably our most significant proposal in a generation so I encourage you to respond to our plans when they are published later this month,” he said.

The plans, Shifting the balance: a better, fairer system of dental regulation, are due to be made public on January 26.