General Dental Council responds to newspaper advert outrage

The General Dental Council (GDC) has responded to the furore over the controversial advert it placed in the consumer press.

The regulator has also moved to dispel rumours that the advert cost £60,000.

A statement released today read: ‘The GDC launched a publicity campaign to promote the Dental Complaints Service (DCS) in May 2014.

‘As part of this campaign an advert was placed in the Saturday magazine of The Telegraph on 5 July at a cost of £5,500.

‘The campaign was aimed at addressing findings from annual surveys of patients and the public. Our 2013 Patient and Public survey showed that of those who wished to raise a complaint, 27% were not sure to whom to complain.

‘The campaign also sought to raise awareness of the DCS as a mechanism for handling complaints about private dental care which do not involve issues of fitness to practise.’

The full-page advert read: ‘Not happy with your private dental care? Don’t keep quiet about it.’

It also displays the phrase ‘funded by the General Dental Council’.

The advert has exacerbated the anger felt by UK dental professionals following the GDC’s proposal to increase its annual retention fee (ARF) by 64%. The GDC claims this increase is necessary in light of the costs involved with processing the 110% increase in complaints since 2010.

The profession’s response has flooded social media with hostility. A number of online petitions have also sprung up since the GDC opened its ARF consultation, with some even calling for the GDC to be disbanded in the light of the recent advert.

An e-petition on the government website calling for a review of the ARF had collected more than 11,000 signatures at the time of writing. The e-petition can be found here.

The GDC said it was unable to comment on the responses to the ARF consultation while it was still ongoing. The consultation is due to close on 4 September 2014.

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