The General Dental Council (GDC) has expressed extreme disappointment that yet again a Bill to reform professional regulation in the interests of patients and the public was not in the Queen’s Speech, despite widespread consensus that it is necessary.
Whilst regrettable in many respects, this offers extended time for a fresh look at how to protect patients by designing a much more workable system of resolving complaints about dental professionals.
The GDC has long campaigned for reforms to its very outdated legislation which stands in the way of providing sufficiently timely, proportionate resolution of complaints.
This is to the disadvantage of patients and the public, but also to dental professionals.
At a time of increased complaints across a number of healthcare sectors, many regulators, including the GDC, are feeling significant pressure on resources, leading to more time being taken to resolve complaints; this is neither in the interests of patients or dental professionals.
The GDC has set out a clear vision that puts the patient at the heart of its work.
The achievement of that vision depends on reforms that would provide a more efficient and proportionate system, ensuring patients’ concerns are resolved at the right level and by the most appropriate body.
Grasp the opportunity
GDC chief executive and registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry, said:
‘We have long pointed out that the legislative framework under which the GDC operates is very outdated, leading to additional operating costs and unnecessary delays for patients and dental professionals involved in a complaint.
‘Over the last three years we have worked closely with the Law Commissions and the Department of Health in developing legislation that would help us manage complaints through a more efficient, yet robust process.
‘We previously called upon the government not to miss this watershed moment. We are left disappointed that Parliamentary time could not be found for a Bill that would help us perform our role of protecting patients more effectively.
‘However, we are keen to grasp the opportunity the additional time brings to work with other regulators, commissioners and patient groups to develop new legislation in time for the 2016/17 session.’
The GDC is fully committed to working with ministers to achieve a workable solution.
We urge the government to introduce a draft Bill to Parliament at the earliest opportunity and to use the additional time to ensure that the draft legislation is further developed and improved to meet the needs of today’s patient and to reduce the cost of regulation.