Shifting the balance

General Dental Council

Jonathan Green says the General Dental Council’s refocused approach to fitness to practise is better for patients and fairer for the profession.

Our proposals for the reform of dental regulation – Shifting the Balance  were recently published and full details are on our website.

We are keen to hear as many people’s views as possible.

This is an opportunity for dental professionals to get involved to make a real difference.

We know that the overwhelming majority of dentists and dental care professionals working across the UK aspire to, and are successful in, delivering safe patient care.

Regulation is a necessary part of the patient safety landscape for the relatively small number of practitioners who fall far below our Standards for the Dental Team.

We believe we can regulate the profession differently and in a way that is better for patients and fairer to the profession.

We think our proposals will keep patient safety at the heart of the regulatory system and will ensure public confidence in dental services is maintained.

Reducing the risks

Regulation needs to be about more than enforcement.

Better regulation does not rely on waiting for things to go wrong then acting, it focuses efforts on reducing the risk of harm from occurring.

This is why we want to change our approach to focus our activity on prevention, such as the use of education and learning to support dental professionals throughout their career, by supporting patients to raise their concerns in the most effective way and to forge better relationships with partners.

Fitness to practise hearings are expensive.

There are going to be occasions where a hearing is necessary as it unlocks very specific sanctions only available through fitness to practise and sometimes cases are so serious, that it is only right that a full hearing takes place in public.

We want to reserve a hearing for those serious cases where there was actual harm to patients, the risk of harm was high or the professional’s actions or conduct effect the public’s confidence in dental services.

By working with partners and the profession, we can redirect a proportion of complaints and concerns elsewhere so that we can focus our efforts on prevention.

I would encourage you to look at our proposals and give us your views.

You have until 26 April to make your voice heard.

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