We all know that the GDC (General Dental Council) is here to protect the public from errant dental professionals, but how well does it work?
Certainly the report from its own regulator, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), wasn’t glowing. The GDC is a strange organisation, it takes money from the dental profession in order to regulate it, yet it remains accountable to the people that the dental profession takes the money from in so many ways. The PSA is unhappy with the performance of the GDC but have you noticed who actually assumes the blame? In most organisations it would be the chairman for the way he directs and holds the CEO to account. Have you heard anyone taking the blame fairly on their shoulders? Yet, there are many misgivings:
- The number of cases reaching fitness to practice hearings is too high and the wrong types
- The early resolution system/arbitration is not effective
- Huge backlog of cases.
So, the GDC performance manages the dental professions and fails to be managed well itself. The GDC's performance has come into the spotlight now because of the issue of the huge increasing costs of doing business, and that these costs are being proposed to be passed onto the registrants. Somehow, the GMC (General Medical Council) doesn’t seem to have these problems or costs. Is it me, or is it an unbalanced state of affairs?
Naturally, the GDC blame the increasing amount of complaints. No one seems to reflect on the level of incompetence with which that organisation is run. If there was a problem with the management structure and true accountability was present then we would be able to understand and comment fairly.
The DCS (Dental Complaints Service) is the private complaints service of the GDC. This works as a separate committee of the GDC for investigations within the private dental market. Its performance is measured and the cost, speed and the satisfaction of patients for that service show it to be an exemplar, so why doesn't the GDC change its complaints procedure to match tried and established protocols?
Who is responsible for the declared expenditure of £5,500 of an advert in the Daily Telegraph? Here the GDC took the unprecedented step of advertising itself. Rumours abound that the real cost was 10 times as much. If so, have the GDC been caught lying? What sanction would they face against those they would impose on a dentist? Clearly, it set out to raise its profile with patients, whilst advising them how to complain. Isn’t it normal to advertise to gain more attention so more people would come to the GDC? When it cannot sustain its current business why would it wish to generate more?
It gets away with incompetent and expensive complaint handling because it can simply raise charges on dental professionals, without any smidgeon increase in performance management. This is an unsustainable way to conduct business, representing the hypocritical way of ‘don’t do as I do – do as I say’.
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