Yes, the GDC has been very busy recently. In future articles I may deal with some of the issues in more detail, but for the present it is possible to gain a flavour of what is going on from the list of consultations and guidance documents published in recent weeks.
All significant policy decisions made by the GDC first go through a process of consultation where the views of anyone with an interest in the subject can be communicated to the Council. Current consultations cover the regulation of implant dentistry, fitness to practise guidance for students, training for registrants on the GDC’s specialist lists and revalidation.
In fact, the GDC is expanding its consultation on revalidation by running a couple of workshops this year at the British Dental Association conference in Glasgow on Friday 5 June. These workshops are open to all general practitioners and will explain how revalidation will work and provide an opportunity for feedback on the GDC’s proposals.
The GDC issues guidance documents to the various groups who work with the Council to assist it in performing its regulatory tasks. And the Council also issues guidance documents to its own registrants explaining the responsibilities of registration.
The Quality Assurance Directorate of the GDC has produced a series of new guidance documents to assist the regulation of standards of education and training of registrants.
There is guidance for course providers covering the entire Q.A. process from making a submission of a training proposal to obtaining full approval. The GDC has also drawn up more detailed guidance on how the submissions process works and how the Education Committee reaches decisions on provisional approval for new programmes. There is also guidance for those who assess the new course submissions on behalf of the GDC and a document explaining to the public what the GDC’s Q.A. work entails has also been produced.
New professional guidance for registrants, recently published, addresses involvement with Dental Body Corporates and commissioning Dental Appliances.
The GDC’s two documents on pre-registration training for Dentists (The First Five Years) and for DCPs (Training the Dental Team) have been revised and the Council has recently published interim versions on its website. In the future, these two documents will be replaced by a single combined outcome-based guidance which is intended to reflect future and current oral health needs and patient safety with a greater emphasis on ensuring professionalism of would-be registrants.
And finally, all this frenetic activity has to be paid for. All dentists will have paid their annual retention fee for 2009 by now, but DCPs have been recently sent a reminder that their next payment is due by 31 July. The fee is £96 and the reminder explains the various ways this can be paid.