GDC outlines changes to setting fees

A NEW approach to setting fees has been unveiled by the General Dental Council in a bid to move to a fairer, more transparent system.

The regulator plans to introduce a three-year planning model in which strategic objectives will be open to consultation before approval.

So-called ‘cross subsidy’ is to be almost entirely eliminated, meaning fees from one registrant group will no longer be used to subsidise another. The only exception will be instances where doing so will lead to inappropriate or disproportionate outcomes.

Payment of fees by instalment is also being considered, although the GDC has warned it is a “complex issue” with some “legal ambiguities”.

GDC chief executive Ian Brack said consultation on the three-year planning model would take place in the spring and invited comments from all interested stakeholders.

The announcement received a mixed response from the British Dental Association (BDA). They welcomed the move to introduce payments by instalment, but said the overall plans lacked detail.

BDA chair Mick Armstrong said: “Dentists will have little confidence in plans to base the ARF on a three-year plan without real transparency and accountability. Yes, fees should reflect costs, but colleagues cannot be expected to pay for work that has no support within the profession.”

He also demanded a reduction in the annual retention fee (ARF), saying: “This fee must come down significantly to restore the profession’s confidence, and demonstrate that the GDC has actually learned from past mistakes.”

Remember: All dentists must complete the GDC annual renewal process, including payment of the ARF, by 31 December