“Further improvement” in performance at GDC

THE General Dental Council has shown further improvement by meeting all but one of the 24 standards set down by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

A PSA review found that in the year up to July 2017 the dental regulator met all four standards for education and training, all four for standards and guidance, and all six for registration.

It failed to meet just one standard for fitness to practise, which related to information security.

The improvements follow significant changes in the regulator’s leadership, processes and organisational culture in response to PSA criticisms of their handling of a whistleblowing incident in 2013. The GDC's Shifting the balance report, published in January, set out a three-year strategy to achieve a “better, fairer system of dental regulation”.

Last year the GDC did not meet the PSA standard for prioritising serious complaints when concerns were raised about how long it was taking to make decisions about interim orders. But this year they were found to be making decisions more quickly and assurances had been given about their risk assessment process.

The report also noted the GDC has changed its registration appeals process following concerns over how it was coping with a large volume of submissions. The time taken to resolve these appeals has now reduced from an average of five months to three.

The report stated: “The GDC’s performance this year represents a further improvement since last year, when it met all but three standards in fitness to practise. We are pleased to note that the GDC has been able to build on the improvement that we reported on last year."

One concern raised by the PSA related to the GDC’s proposed new enhanced CPD (ECPD) scheme and the length of time it was taking to implement. The report noted that draft rules for it were originally agreed in 2013, adding: “Despite this lack of progress, this standard remains met as the GDC does have a CPD system in place which ensures that registrants maintain their fitness to practise.

GDC chief executive Ian Brack said: “The GDC is committed to continuous improvement, with future work planned to ensuring fitness to practise is focused on the most serious, to improve how we manage data and information, and developing a system of learning based regulation that is grounded in high quality data and insight.

Read the full PSA report here

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