Patient protection key in GDC changes

A raft of changes aimed at improving the handling of complaints against dental professionals, has been announced by the General Dental Council.

The aim is to improve the quality and speed of complaints handling to ensure patients are protected effectively.

Amongst the key changes are:

• An increase in the number of decision meetings and hearings aimed at clearing a backlog of cases and reducing delays

• An improved, front end diagnostic process to fast track the most serious cases and to deal proportionately with all other cases

• The provision of clinical advice at the outset in cases where this is appropriate. This will complement the early diagnosis process and ensure cases are handled appropriately;

• A rigorous quality assurance process for all stages of the complaints handling process to ensure effective performance management

• The introduction in 2011 of a top class case management database to assist workflow and provide management information.

These changes, which are currently underway, mark the first phase of a complete overhaul of the GDC’s complaints handling (fitness to practise) processes.
dditional changes to the FtP processes – aimed at further improving timeliness and proportionality – will require legislative change and the GDC is working with the Department of Health to effect these changes.
A full consultation on the nature of these is planned for early 2012.

Director of regulation at the GDC, Neil Marshall, said: ‘We are confident that the changes we are putting in place will help us to assure the public and the dental profession that we are performing our public protection duties as efficiently and effectively as we possibly can.’

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