The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) has raised concerns over the General Dental Council’s (GDC’s) fitness to practise (FtP) process.
It is concerned over the way dental care standards are interpreted within the GDC’s FtP process, and that this may be leading to inappropriate judgements of registrants’ competencies.
‘The review of faculty standards represents an important body of work that seeks to determine how the standards are being interpreted, both by regulators and the profession,’ said Dr Trevor Ferguson, dean of the FGDP(UK).
‘We are also assessing our standards to ensure that they continue to assist practitioners in making sound clinical judgements and that they support consistency in patient care.’
The FGDP(UK) believes that the GDC’s regulatory processes must account for the clinical judgement involved in dental care and the widely differing circumstances for each patient.
Prompted by reports of disproportionate FtP judgements, as well as discussions with others across the profession, the faculty initiated a comprehensive review of FGDP(UK) guidance last year that seeks to determine how the standards are being interpreted, both by regulators and the profession, the outcomes of this review will be shared widely.
‘We will continue our work with a broad range of stakeholders to help bring about the changes necessary to ensure patient protection, as well as fair and proportionate regulation of the profession,’ Dr Trevor Ferguson continued.
The faculty also suggests that issues relating to the annual retention fee decision, as well as the events that led to the judicial review initiated by the British Dental Association, point to the need for closer scrutiny of the GDC’s governance processes.
The FGDP(UK) believes it is essential that the GDC is transparent, proportionate and fair in its dealings with the profession, including a commitment to ensure that all processes are conducted in a way that is unimpeachable and facilitates full engagement by the profession and stakeholders.