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BDA slams GDC proposal to raise the ARF by 64%

The BDA has reacted to the proposed increase of 64% in annual retention fees charged by the GDC.

The chair of the British Dental Association's Principal Executive Committee, Mick Armstrong, met with GDC (General Dental Council) leaders and expressed his alarm at the dental regulator's plans for a 64% rise in the annual retention fee (ARF). 

The proposal for the fee rise, which was announced recently, would see dentists fees rise from £576 to £945.

Dentists have no choice but to pay in order for them to practise lawfully.

It also comes on the back of a highly critical Professional Standards Authority (PSA) report on the GDC.

Commenting on the proposed fee rise, Dr Armstrong said: 'The suggestion that the profession pay more to fund a council that has been shown unable to do its job properly is frankly astonishing.

'The rise would be unpalatable at the best of times, but it now appears that the profession is being asked to foot the bill for failure.'

The scale of the rise is unprecedented and is at odds with the actions of all other regulators.

The PSA (Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care) report concluded that the GDC had failed to meet seven out of 10 standards governing registrants' fitness to practise.

The BDA believes the GDC must investigate the underlying reasons for the Œsignificant increase in complaints about dental registrants.

It needs to work with the profession to determine their causes, the BDA believes, rather than raising dentists' annual retention fee.

The BDA will be raising these concerns with the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as this rise is at odds with the principles contained in the 2011 white paper Enabling Excellence.

This requires regulators to minimise the financial burden on individual registrants.

Dr Armstrong continued: 'It's not just the huge rise in fees that has left the dental profession aghast, but, when dentists are expected to tolerate poor performance by the very body that is charged with the duty to assess their fitness to practise, we are justifiably outraged.

'The figure is, by a country mile, the highest fee charged by any comparable healthcare regulator.

'Some have managed to maintain or even reduce their annual retention fees, and also fared better in the PSA reports.

'Something just doesn't add up.'

The BDA will be consulting members for their views on the GDC's performance as well as the proposed increase in fees.

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The GDC has been hi-jacked by lawyers, many who get paid by the hour and have no incentive to shorten proceedings. The GDC has been shown to be failing in seven out of ten standards and has admitted that it's procedures are archaic. The GDC is not and should not behave like a high court. It shouldn't cost circa £78000 for a three day hearing. Even more astonishing is that these proposed massive fee increases come at a time shortly after the GDC mugged over 60000 DCP's for additional annual fees income If I attempted to increase my fees to my patients by 60+% I rather suspect many of them would not choose to take me up on my offer. This government quango is out of touch and needs a major shake up.
Utterly outrageous that those incompetent clowns at the GDC think they can steal nearly £1000 of my money to fund their failure. With 2 partners in the practice (30 years experience each) the bill for statutory regulation by the GDC will be about £2k. Add that to £800 for the CQC droids and £5k for indemnity insurance (what a racket that is!) that's nearly £8000 costs before we even start to do little matters like pay our employees. An ARF fee strike is long overdue!
What incentive do they have to reduce costs when we have no choice but to cough up? The GDC is incompetent and arrogant. I do not care about targets; they are singularly useless at protecting the public - one only has to look at many dentists' websites. One local to where I live talks about his LDS as if it is a post-grad FDS.
This brings contempt from the profession towards this so called regulator. Their incompetence is mind boggling and the wording on the justification of a 64% increase in ARF on their website, suggests that dentists should only blame themselves for it. As a fragmented profession who can not unite in a strong response to the GDC, the only other option is to pass the cost to the patients. Those colleagues who are stuck with the UDA aka "Nectar point" system will have to manipulate this ridiculous system even more to compensate for the burden of the extra costs. The vicious circle of a non-workable dental contract, leading to a more and more cheating / manipulating profession who has to pay the bills and run a business to survive, with the subsequent consequence of the loss of its integrity and professionalism and the patients loss of respect and confidence in them will ultimately lead to more complaints about them to this so called regulator.
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