The Department of Health has announced new powers that will enable the GDC to changes its fitness to practise procedures.
The new powers, which were set out in Parliament, have been designed to improve the efficiency of fitness to practise (FtP) procedures, which the General Dental Council (GDC) hopes will enable swifter investigation of complaints.
These new arrangements are due to come into effect in April 2016 and will allow the GDC to be able to appoint case examiners with powers to decide cases at an earlier stage than at present.
‘This is a milestone for the GDC,’ Evlynne Gilvarry, chief executive and registrar of the GDC, said.
‘These long-sought new powers will lead to a more streamlined complaints system with timelier decisions, and with appropriate safeguards for both patients and dental professionals.
‘We welcome these new powers as a first, important step in modernising our fitness to practise processes and we will continue to make the case for more fundamental reforms in the interests of patients and professionals.’
Under these new arrangements, case examiners can now impose conditions on practice with dental professionals under investigation.
Other measures include a power to review a closed case where it is in the public interest, where the decision may be flawed or where new information comes to light, making the system fairer and more transparent.