Mick Armstrong backs calls from the dental regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC), for regular Parliamentary accountability hearings on its work.
In its first hearing in front of the Commons Health Committee Chair Bill Moyes and chief executive Evlynne Gilvarry came under unprecedented scrutiny – with the committee pointing to written evidence from the Professional Standards Authority that described the regulator as worse than seven of the eight professional regulators it oversees.
‘I want to thank Dr Wollaston and her colleagues for finally shining a light on the GDC,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) Principal Executive Committee, said.
‘Today the Health Committee put the regulator under forensic scrutiny, raising real questions about trust, confidence, competence and leadership at the regulator.
‘Important questions were posed, but answers were in short supply.
‘The GDC’s representatives demonstrated a shaky grasp of their own numbers.
‘They failed to show progress on concrete improvements, and conspicuously failed to take any responsibility for problems of their own making.’
Bill Moyes, GDC chair, closed the hearing by ‘inviting’ regular scrutiny from the committee, a call the BDA is now echoing in a letter to the committee.
‘Committee members were confronted by a paucity of evidence and obfuscation, and all too often the GDC chair was prepared to blame the “old guard”, when he was sitting next to one of them,’ Mick Armstrong continued.
‘Tellingly we saw no evidence of the regulator’s regret or willingness to engage positively with our profession.
‘There was scepticism as to how effectively the GDC is able to address its own failings.
‘In closing Mr Moyes welcomed the concept of regular hearings in front of the committee.
‘These can’t just be polite parting words.
‘It is essential now for both patients and practitioners that the GDC is held to account on a regular basis.
‘A one-off will not bring a troubled regulator back from the brink.
‘Let me extend my thanks to our members for making this possible.
‘You have supplied the evidence and the testimony that has brought the GDC’s failings onto the agenda.
‘We are committed to seeing this through so, together, we can secure the regulation our profession deserves.’