A British Dental Association (BDA) survey has revealed a growing crisis of confidence among dentists in their professional regulator – with nearly eight in 10 respondents casting doubt on the General Dental Council’s (GDC’s) ability to perform its regulatory function.
As the GDC prepares to ramp up its annual retention fee (ARF) by 64%, the BDA has warned that more ‘heavy handed’ tactics risk further undermining the trust on which professional regulation depends.
Dr Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA's Principal Executive Committee, said: 'Sound regulation depends on fairness, proportionality and transparency, and fundamentally it requires trust.
'The GDC is now failing on all these counts.
'Dentists demand effective regulation.
'But what we are getting from the GDC is heavy handedness, inefficiency and the expectation we will pick up the tab for its mismanagement.
'This outrageous fee increase has only served to confirm what many had long suspected about the GDC.
'There is a real crisis of confidence between dentists and their regulator, and it must now be resolved.
'The GDC can start by shutting down this flawed consultation, and thinking again.
'Because today there is one question on the minds of the vast majority of dentists: is the GDC fit to regulate?'
Between 11 July and 21 July 2014, BDA members were surveyed about the proposed ARF increase.
Nearly 6,000 members, or 42% of those invited to take part, responded.
Summary of the results
- Members not confident that the GDC is regulating dentists effectively – 79%
- Respondents thinking the GDC is fair in the way it treats registrants – 9%
- Respondents thinking it is transparent – 12%
- Fewer than eight percent agreed that the GDC was proportionate in its dealings with registrants
- Seventy seven percent felt the GDC was not interested in their opinions when it holds a public consultation
- Sixty six percent of those who had experience of the GDC’s fitness to practise function rated the function fairly poor or very poor
- Ninety eight percent disagreed with the proposed ARF hike – 54.4% supported a rise in line with inflation.
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