THE GDC has launched a Dental Professionals Hearing Service which is separate from its fitness to practise investigation and prosecution functions.
Hearings will still take place before a committee of three independent panellists but the new service highlights the independence of hearings from fitness to practise investigations and prosecution.
Legislation currently prevents the creation of an entirely independent hearings function and as such the new service remains legally part of, and accountable to, the GDC.
A dedicated website now provides information on the service including the different types of hearing, details of future and past hearings, and a summary of what dental professionals and witnesses can expect when attending a hearing.
GDC Chair, Lord Toby Harris, said: "The independence of the hearing from any investigative process is a fundamental tenet of justice, but we know this separation at the GDC isn’t always understood by those going through the system. By making this change we are aiming to highlight this independence and thereby promote confidence in the fairness of the system."
The GDC says the creation of the new service will cause no disruption to any hearings that are already scheduled.