GDC changing its emphasis

GDC changing emphasis should be welcomed, John Makin saysJohn Makin explains why the GDC’s changing emphasis is something the dental profession should welcome.

Fortunately, relatively few dental professionals undergo a GDC investigation.

Even fewer have any action on their registration as a result.

In 2018 the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee imposed erasure or suspension in just 125 cases.

Or 0.1% out of 116,173 registrants.

However, we know from speaking to our members that the fear of being notified of a GDC complaint and the stress of undergoing any investigation can be immense.

GDC response

The GDC has been responding to the feedback it has received from registrants and bodies like the DDU.

It has already made some positive moves towards more proportionate regulation.

Measures such as changes to the GDC’s website have contributed to a reduction in fitness to practise concerns.

The introduction of triage and case examiners in fitness to practise procedures has coincided with a significant fall in the number of cases going forward to hearings.

Further changes are afoot.

Right time. Right place. Right-touch

The GDC recently published further information in its strategy for the next three years Right time. Right place. Right-touch.

We support the GDC’s recognition that when things go wrong there are often a number of contributory factors.

We also support the GDC’s commitment to explore further the impact of human factors on dental practice and its undertaking to inform and educate professionals about circumstances that may increase the risk of errors, with the aim of helping registrants to avoid them and to continue to practise safely.

Regulation carries with it a stigma and is perceived as being punitive, even if that is not the intent.

The GDC must be able to hold dental professionals accountable.

Although of course it is right that only a small percentage are sanctioned each year by the regulator.

The GDC’s change of emphasis towards learning from what goes wrong and sharing that learning in order to assist dental professionals to continue to practise safely is an approach that I’m sure will be widely welcomed.

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