The General Dental Council (GDC) has introduced a new process of dealing with complaints, encouraging local resolution.
Following a pilot run last year, the dental regulator will now refer concerns to the NHS when the complaint raised does not significantly impact on a dental professional’s ability to practice dentistry.
‘For too long, the GDC has been using its resources to investigate lower level concerns that could be resolved locally as there simply hasn’t been a system in place to deal with them,’ Jonathan Green, director of fitness to practise at the GDC, said.
‘Where it is appropriate, I want to encourage local resolution of concerns wherever possible.
‘This is in the best interests of patients and the dental profession and makes the best use of the NHS performance management framework
‘Using local remediation to address performance issues where the person’s ability to carry out dentistry is not in question, saves the dental professional from going through a stressful and costly fitness to practise process when it is not necessary.
‘This ensures our resources are focused on cases where patients are at risk and where there is a potential case to answer at a fitness to practise hearing.’
GDC NHS concerns handling
The GDC believes this new process, called GDC NHS concerns handling, will help it to concentrate on serious performance issues.
Examples of low-level concerns include:
- Single, isolated incidents where there is not a pattern of repeated behaviour
- Evidence of poor communication between the dental professional and the patient
- Evidence of poor record keeping
- Where the dental professional has failed to adequately explain dental charges.