Labour calls for investigation into GDC’s spending

auditThe National Audit Office should investigate the General Dental Council’s hefty legal and PR bills, the government has been told.

Labour called for Parliament’s watchdog to step in after the regulator was criticised for high spending during a recent whistleblowing enquiry and grilling by a committee of MPs.

The British Dental Association revealed that the GDC paid out more half a million pounds on legal costs and staffing changes during the enquiry, which followed claims about working practices.

Investigation into spending

Meanwhile, a Freedom of Information request also uncovered a £250,000 bill to leading international public relations firms for a range of services.

They included preparing Bill Moyes, the GDC’s chairman, and former chief executive and registrar Evlynne Gilvarry, for their appearances in front of the Health Select Committee in March 2015.

The spending prompted fierce criticism from the BDA, whose chairman Mick Armstrong accused the GDC of ‘business as usual’, despite promises of reform.

Mr Armstrong said, in April: ‘Bill Moyes has again demonstrated he would rather spend registrants’ fees on firefighting than acknowledge any error on his part.

‘This half-million-pound price tag for avoidable legal costs and tokenistic staffing changes is particularly galling and flies in the face of stated commitments to openness and transparency.’

‘Culture of complacency’

The call for an inquiry by the National Audit Office came from Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Labour’s health spokesman in the Lords – a long-time critic of the GDC.

Tabling Parliamentary questions, Lord Hunt asked what action would be taken by the Department of Health about the level of spending on ‘external legal advice, redundancy payments and related external PR services’.

And he inquired ‘whether they will ask the National Audit Office to carry out a value-for-money examination of GDC’s financial management’.

Previously, Lord Hunt called for the entire board of the GDC to resign after critical reports from the Professional Standards Authority – attacking its ‘culture of utter complacency’.

However, in reply to his questions, Health Minister Lord Prior of Brompton argued it was sufficient for the GDC’s accounts to be certified by the Controller and Auditor General.

He added: ‘These accounts would cover all expenditure including that during the PSA investigation.

‘The Department has no plans to ask the National Audit Office to carry out a value for money examination of the GDC’s financial management.’

Earlier this year, Mr Moyes described Lord Hunt as ‘badly briefed’ in not recognising that the GDC had changed since the PSA’s criticisms and was ‘visibly improving’.

4 Comments

  1. 1

    I reported my business partner to the GDC for performing illegal dentistry (we are both Hygienists – and he performed white fillings on a new patient, amongst many other things), and we owned several practices and a laboratory. I also reported him for Forgery, (he forged my signature on a Power Of Attorney and sold the Company out from under me),Fraud, deception, embezzlement, false accounting, defrauding the NHS by falsifying electronic UDA returns from the local PCT and underpaying dentists, by utilising a template that he made up with the NHS Logo to deceive them.

    What have the GDC done – NOTHING, they say that it’s NOT in their remit to go into practices and inspect documentation – but they didn’t say that until AFTER they had told the Police that, as the Governing Body that they would be dealing with the individual concerned (the Police, being slightly overworked as they are – were then only too happy to pass things over to them).

    Despite having 4 x written witness statements (taken by their own hired investigation Company) confirmed by the trainee nurse who assisted him that he had performed illegal dentistry, he had employed non-registered staff (one of whom was an Indian dentist who hadn’t yet been accepted by the GDC).

    The result – I got hauled over the coals by the GDC for writing to the patient to inform her that she had been treated illegally, by someone not qualified, allowed or trained to perform the procedure that was carried out on her and suspended.

    And the good old GDC still have NOT taken any action against my business partner.

    One of the things I did find out whilst at their place where they convene their hearings in Central London is – they have rented the whole floor of that building FOR THREE YEARS IN ADVANCE.

  2. 2

    Well said, Ronnie. Lord Hunt is also correct, the entirely ‘not fit for purpose’ GDC needs abolishing and a new start made. A clean slate. Legislation to peg the ARF to a (very small!) % of average income. The GDC successor then told to cut it’s cloth to match. Adverts in the Daily Telegraph banned…..

    • 3

      We have two issues here, the function of the GDC, which we know is bobbins, and the current incumbent management of the GDC, who are still in their honeymoon period. This year’s ARF will give us a steer on how they are performing and their sentiment towards dental professionals. And the case workers change kicks in soon. Fingers crossed before fingers wagged.

  3. 4

    Quite right Julian, the GDC are on their honeymoon period and can legitimately point to planned changes already in place. The issue for GDPs is the random nature by which a ‘complaint’ can have life altering affects and as Kevin Lewis excellently surmised they ought to be there to look into ‘concerns’ not ‘complaints’.

    The reason we have the GDC in the first place is due to the courts recognising that those in the profession are best placed to determine good and bad behavior. This is now a mockery given the number of lay members within the GDC.

    We desperately need more dental (professionals?) members to retain our professional status otherwise we risk turning into a trade, perhaps like car mechanics.

    Neel

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