John Chope column

John Chope discovers that its annual performance review provides a snapshot of what the GDC has been up to during the past year.

Glowing report for GDC

The GDC has received its 2006/2007 annual performance review from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE). It’s a bit like an end of term school report, except that it has every appearance of being composed by the pupil himself.

The full report can be accessed at http://www.chre.org.uk and it seems to consist of a factual description of the GDC with an uncritical account of its achievements.

The list includes: preparation for a revalidation scheme, establishment of the new Dental Complaints Service for resolving complaints about private dentistry, setting up a customer enquiry service for general enquiries from the public, the hosting of a

conference on legal, ethical and clinical issues in dentistry, re-evaluation of the dentist undergraduate training inspection system, establishment of a specialist list review board and prompt implementation of the GDC’s Section 60 Order.

The Section 60 Order permitted several reforms within the GDC: a new statutory register for Dental Care Professionals (DCPs), revision of the fitness to practise system, removal of the restrictions on Dental Bodies Corporate (DBCs) and establishment of an appeals process for unsuccessful registration applications.

Future work for the GDC is expected to include developing an improved framework for stakeholder feedback and consultations, collaborating with Primary Care Trusts in language skills for dental professionals and implementation of a new International Qualifying Exam. The CHRE also noted an improvement in the giving of determinations by the fitness to practise panel and welcomed plans for further training on this aspect.

The only area that gave the CHRE cause for concern related to a failure to place conditions on registrants whose performance or conduct was in doubt. The GDC believed that under the old regulations it had no authority to impose conditions on the registration of its registrants. However, the CHRE disagreed, insisting the GDC demand that certain registrants should themselves provide a binding undertaking about the permitted limits of their own practice.

Fortunately the new fitness to practise rules now empower the GDC itself to directly impose conditions on problematic registrants where appropriate. So that’s alright then!

The CHRE has reported on all its nine constituent healthcare regulatory bodies and on the strength of last year’s performance it looks as though the GDC should go to the top of the class.

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