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Thought of the day... annual retention fee

Julian English gives his thoughts on the very high 2015 GDC fees.

A GDC annual retention fee of £945 is crazily high for a young dentist.

At what level does the fee become prohibitive to good dentistry?

The should stagger it based on age or tenure in practice.

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£945 is too high for any dentist, not just newly qualified. We're no longer self-governing yet are being told we must pay for the privilege of being controlled by this organisation and take on faith that they're being frugal and responsible with our money. Imagine if politicians were governed by an equivalent body, namely the General Political Council. Any member of the public could make a complaint. Each MP's office would have to dispense leaflets entitled 'How to make a claim against your MP'. Said MP would quickly receive a rather unpleasant letter informing them of their failings without even a courtesy phone call from the GPC offices. If later found innocent, no system for redress against the accuser would be offered. The GPC would state that their statutory responsibility was to protect the public from the actions of rogue politicians. Now that organisation would truly be a goldmine for lawyers, much like the GDC is in danger of becoming right now. Despite a recent unprecedented grab of over 60000 new subscriptions, ostensibly to give DCPs a better deal, the GDC still wants to increase our subscriptions by over 60%. This level of increase is unacceptable, particularly since the GDC themselves admit their procedures are 'archaic' and are asking for government reform of their processes which might save millions. Why should dentists and DCP's be forced to subsidise archaic processes? £78000 to hold a short hearing? Wow. We dentists really are amateurs at earning a crust. Will 2016 see a request for a similar increase? Who knows. This is the problem with an unaccountable government monopoly organisation. The GDC needs an independent investigation into it's internal workings and budget control.
The GDC processes and public accountability whole dynamic is not 21st century. At best it is work in progress. To wholly protect the public (in the 21st century) the GDC should be run mainly by lay people and a few dentists. Self governance is not 21st century. The GDC fitness to practise bureaucracy has been hijacked by lawyers. The GDC is not a high court, so relax the rules and the lawyer involvement on this basis, or better still, the GDC should hire its own staff lawyers to handle cases. Get some young blood in, fresh from the bar and they can cut their teeth on FtP cases on the cheap. The GDC reorganisation has a long way to go. The next stage is for the GDC to ratchet down FtP processes and costs. But it might have to go bust before this happens. As Keanu Reeves once said: 'Only at the precipice do we change.'
Good comments Julian. Couldn't agree more.
Let it go bust. ARF strike LONG overdue!
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