ARF can now be paid in instalments, says GDC

Dental teams can pay their annual retention fee (ARF) in instalments this year, it has been announced. Dental teams can pay their annual retention fee (ARF) in instalments this year, it has been announced. 

The General Dental Council (GDC) has confirmed that dentists and DCPs will be able to spread the cost of the ARF across 2021.

For dentists this will be four payments of £170. For DCPs this works out as four payments of £28.50.

Clinicians who wish to pay their ARF by instalments will be able to select this option later in the year.

‘We know that many dental professionals want more flexibility in how they pay the ARF and so we will be introducing a pay by instalments option,’ said GDC chief executive and registrar, Ian Brack.

‘Detailed feasibility work has been completed and work is underway to make the necessary changes to our systems to allow us to offer this to DCPs this year.

‘We expect this work to be complete by early May and DCPs who want to pay quarterly will then need to sign up by 31 May. Detailed guidance will follow nearer the time.’

No change

This follows the announcement last year that the ARF will not change for 2021.

The dental regulator revealed its plans were made on the basis of a 10% reduction in its income. As a result, it has cut its budget by 6.5%.

It states this is due to the questions and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and Brexit. Consequently, the ARF remains unchanged for this year.

Speaking at the time, Ian Brack said: ‘COVID-19 has been very challenging for the dental sector. The country is now experiencing the long-expected second wave of the pandemic.

‘This is expected to impact on the professions we regulate. We do not know how this will affect the register.

‘The GDC has no option but to continue to undertake its statutory duties but faces very great uncertainty. Some of the risks we face include smaller numbers joining the professions and larger numbers leaving.

‘As well as disruption to the flow of overseas registrants as a consequence of our exit from the EU, and the potential delays in students qualifying to register due to interruptions in education caused by the pandemic.’

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