PROPOSED changes could cut several weeks off the General Dental Council’s fitness to practise process.
The regulator plans to reduce the number of times it seeks the views of complainants during what is known as the case observations stage.
Currently, whenever a complaint is made, the GDC casework team seeks a response from the registrant being complained about. They then return to the complainant and ask for their input on the registrant’s response.
The regulator has launched a consultation outlining its proposals to only invite observations from complainants if the case worker determines it to be necessary. Registrants will continue to be consulted in all cases.
The GDC’s executive director of fitness to practise Jonathan Green said: "The current practice of requesting observations in three rounds can add several weeks to the process without providing any benefit to the investigation."
The regulator would make clear those situations in which seeking informant observations is appropriate and likely to yield new information or where the informant's direct experience of the events is particularly relevant. For example, where there are serious allegations of sexually motivated behaviour.
Case workers would need to be satisfied that both the registrant and the person who made the complaint “have been given reasonable opportunity to comment and are unlikely to offer any new and relevant information.”
If approved, the changes will come into effect from November 1, 2017.
To respond to the consultation visit gdc.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/case-observations