For the first time in the history of the GDC, a special national conference was convened by the profession to discuss the performance of the GDC and take action against its heavy-handed approach to regulation.
Over 200 dentists and dental professionals from all over the country attended the special event at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London to ensure their voice was heard and to register their discontent at the actions of the GDC.
The motion, that said: ‘This conference believes the GDC has failed in its role as the regulator for dentistry in its current model and demands a reformation of the GDC that will protect patients and re-establish the support of the dental profession‘, was passed unanimously.
Ian Gordon, spokesperson for the alliance of local dental committees fighting to improve regulation in the industry, said at the conference: ‘Dentists from Berwick to Bournemouth have come together to defend themselves from a regulator that no longer has the confidence of their profession.
‘Fundamental reform is clearly needed, starting with a return to mutual trust and away from a culture of fear.
‘Proportional regulation led by a regulator who understands the profession is a pre requisite to progress.
‘The GDC simply has to reform and return to working with the profession and not against it.
‘Ultimately that will be the best outcome for patients.’
The rebelling dentist community believes that the GDC has failed the very profession it regulates, as well as dental patients.
Among the changes that have been made by the GDC in the last year, a recent announcement of a 55% increase in its annual registration fees for dentists, from approximately £576pa to £890pa, was opposed by 98% of dentists in England and Wales, who fear that the considerable fee increase may lead to reduced access to NHS dental services for patients.
The GDC has responded to the conference by saying: ‘It is disappointing that the LDCs have chosen to go down this route and it is of extreme concern to the GDC that they are construing this ARF increase as potentially having an impact on patient access to dental services.
‘This unfounded and inflammatory stance will do nothing but worry patients unnecessarily.
‘The GDC is anxious to engage constructively with the dental profession to understand more about the causes of complaints and to do what can be done to stop them arising in the first place.’