‘Our profession should regulate itself’ – petition calls for dental professional to chair GDC

The profession has kick started a petition calling for the next chair of the General Dental Council (GDC) to be a dental clinicianDental professionals are making calls for the next chair of the General Dental Council (GDC) to be a clinician.

In a new campaign, dental teams are urged to sign a petition in a ‘vital’ bid to have a clinician head up the regulator.

Kicked off by Dominic O’Hooley on behalf of the British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD), the petition puts forward the idea that the ‘profession should regulate itself’.

This comes as William Moyes, the current chair of the GDC, announced he will step down by next year.

Demoralised profession

So far, more than 5,000 dental professionals have signed in just three days.

Mr O’Hooley believes that urgent change is needed to help empower a currently ‘demoralised’ profession.

‘Now that Dr William Moyes has confirmed that he will leave the Chair of the GDC by 30th September 2021, it focused my mind on how his tenure seems to have coincided with an erosion of trust within the profession for its regulator that cannot continue,’ he says.

‘From his 2014 Malcolm Pendlebury Lecture, it was clear that Bill had ambitions for an expanded remit for the GDC. My cynical side wondered if rumours of it being subsumed within the GMC meant that a wider operational scope was a strategy to keep the GDC as a distinct entity?

‘Subsequent years went by with coruscating criticism from the PSA. Lord Hunt even suggested that the whole GDC council should resign. Unfortunately, very little seemed to change as the profession became even more disenfranchised.

‘And so we came to lockdown this year. The first announcement from the GDC was to reassure registrants that GDC staff would be working from home. For me, this succinctly demonstrated the chasm between the regulator we have, and the regulator we need.’

Fairness and equanimity

As a result, he is now calling for a change that will help the profession to ‘strive together’.

‘Dental professionals are deskilling due to fear of developing new skills that may lead to an FTP case,’ he says.

‘Patients are suffering as this demoralised and deskilling profession feels it has to make sure the notes are encyclopaedic. Perhaps the treatment may reflect the risk adverse nature of people who feel under the cosh.

‘For me, the first step to a reborn right-touch GDC has to be a dental professional as chair. Only by having a wet-fingered colleague at the helm, can our regulator gain true understanding of our complex professional lives.

‘Then will they start to realise that a dental profession that trusts the fairness and equanimity of its regulator means patients will be better served too.

‘As a proud member of the BAPD, I have been fortunate to be at the very start of something that will empower our profession. Consequently, it is only right that we strive together to ensure that the next GDC chair is a dental professional.

‘We can then regulate ourselves, as true professionals should.’

You can sign the petition here.

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