The General Dental Council, regulator for the dental profession, has launched its plan for the next three years.
Titled Patients, Professionals, Partners and Performance – The General Dental Council’s road map for 2016-2019 the document details how the GDC plans to improve its performance and efficiency.
‘Every organisation needs something to guide them in deciding what they’re going to do and what they’re not going to do,’ Bill Moyes, chair of the GDC, said exclusively to Dentistry.co.uk.
‘You can’t just do the job without having some idea of what you’re trying to achieve.
‘In this document we’ve given people we deal with; patients, partners, dental professionals, a sense of what we want to be doing in the next three years, but it also gives us a framework with which much more detailed business planning will be done each year.’
GDC complaints and the ARF
The GDC says it wants to see improvements to the current complaints system, so that where possible complaints are addressed locally.
The regulator claims it will soon consult on plans to change the fitness to practise process, including introducing case examiners thanks to a change in the law that is currently being consulted on.
It hopes that this change will help to streamline the handling of cases and reduce those that make it to a final hearing by giving case examiners powers to make undertakings (an agreement) for less serious cases.
‘We’re not expecting case examiners to start taking over cases properly until the autumn, if the legislation is approved and our rules are approved,’ Bill continued.
‘But we are now well on the track to working out the kind of people we want to recruit and how we’re going to train them.
‘The idea is to run the case examiner system in parallel with the existing system.
‘Then we can track whether the case examiners are getting the same quality of decisions or better or worse than the existing system.’
When asked about whether this will result in a reduction to the annual retention fee, Bill Moyes said: ‘Well I hope so.
‘We expect case examiners to save us money, the figure I’m familiar with is about £1.8 million.
‘Provided the number of cases that are referred to us doesn’t shoot up again as it did four/five years ago, then I would expect case examiners, plus other things we’re doing, should lead to the point where we can reduce the ARF.’
Key points from GDC’s road map
Some of the key work the GDC claims will be taking place between 2016-2019 includes:
- Improving information so patients can make better decisions about their care
- Getting to a point where appropriate complaints are dealt with locally or directing patients to the most appropriate body
- Ensuring dental professionals are equipped with the right skills and training to practise safely
- Helping dental professionals to meet the standards
- Reducing the time it takes for complaints to be investigated by introducing case examiners to help streamline the process
- Working with partners in the NHS and other regulators to ensure there is support for dental professionals who are experiencing stress and signpost them to places where they can receive support
- Working with partners to improve dental regulation
- Improving transparency so that the public, patients, professionals and partners are confident in our approach.