New plan to tackle clinical dental complaints

The National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) is to work with the General Dental Council (GDC) to provide clinical reviews of complaints against dentists.

The new service, provided by NCAS, which already undertakes independent performance assessments for the GDC in cases where a dentist’s practice has caused concern, comes into operation this month.

This is the latest in a raft of measures being implemented by the GDC to improve the handling of complaints against dental professionals.

Where a complaint has been made to the GDC about the clinical care provided by a dentist, the GDC can refer the case to NCAS for an independent view on the clinical aspects of the complaint.

NCAS has established a panel of expert dental reviewers who will provide clinical advice to the GDC about the standard of dental treatment provided, which will be used by the GDC to consider whether the case should be referred to its Investigating Committee or closed at an early stage.

Neil Marshall, director of regulation at the GDC, said: ‘The changes we are making to our Fitness to Practise processes are all aimed at improving the quality and speed of complaints handling to ensure patients are protected effectively. This arrangement with NCAS will be key to making sure there are no unnecessary delays in assessing the clinical aspects of cases.’

Professor Pauline McAvoy, interim medical director of NCAS, said: ‘NCAS has significant expertise in the field of practitioner performance, and we are delighted to be able to use our expertise to support the GDC in this important area of their work.’

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