GDC teams up with ASA on ‘irresponsible’ advertising

The dental regulator recently spent £27,715 on an advertising campaign encouraging complaints from private dental patients, including a full page colour advert in the Daily Telegraph, that has drawn criticism from the profession.

The chair of the British Dental Association’s (BDA's) Principal Executive Committee, Mick Armstrong, said: ‘How fitting that in the week Facebook announces a “satire” tag word, it reaches us that the General Dental Council (GDC) is to team up with the ASA on “irresponsible” advertising.

‘A quick glimpse at the GDC website has assured us we are not looking at a spoof, but the latest vanity project from a regulator in crisis.

‘The dental regulator has just spent thousands on a campaign that is clearly at odds with its own policy on advertising.

‘It’s time the GDC practised what it preaches.’

The GDC’s guidance states that adverts help patients make informed choices about their dental care, and ‘advertising that is false, misleading or has the potential to mislead, is unprofessional, may lead to a fitness to practise investigation and can be a criminal offence.’ 

The guidance also advises dental registrants to provide ‘balanced, factual information, which enables them (patients) to make an informed choice about their treatment’.

 The GDC’s Daily Telegraph advert didn’t mention that patients could discuss matters with their dental practice directly, before enlisting the support of the GDC’s Dental Complaints Service (DCS).

Instead of referring to local resolution as a first step to addressing concerns, the GDC advert encouraged patients who are ‘not completely happy’ with their private dental care to contact the DCS.

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