Regulatory reform is ‘desperately needed’, the DDU states

With the stress levels of dental professionals on the rise, the DDU has urged the government to make regulatory reform a top priority.

With the stress levels of dental professionals on the rise, the DDU has urged the government to make regulatory reform a top priority.

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) is calling on Thérèse Coffey, the new Health and Social Care Secretary, to urgently prioritise reform to help an ‘exhausted workforce’.

This comes after previous plans for the modernisation of regulation were delayed.

In addition, such reform will support struggling dental professionals whose stress levels are rising.

Therefore, this should be a top healthcare priority for the government, the DDU states.

Dentistry’s top stories

The organisation also published its dentolegal government agenda during the Conservative party conference.

This outlines three key priorities:

  1. Support an exhausted workforce – morale among dental professionals is at a low ebb caused by dentolegal issues such as increasing complaints about treatment delays. As a result, this is causing increasing stress levels, which is not good for clinicians or patients. The government must do more to support dental professionals and stop fatigue setting in
  2. Deliver modern healthcare professional regulation – top to bottom reform of GDC regulation which is too rigid and governed by outdated legislation
  3. Get to grips with runaway clinical negligence costs – the costs of meeting future claims liabilities for the NHS in England now stands at £128 billion. The total budget for the NHS in 2022/23 is expected to be £155 billion. This is not a sustainable situation and legal reform is desperately needed to rebalance the system.

Dentists deserve support

John Makin, head of the DDU, said: ‘Dental professionals are working flat out to care for their patients, in many cases to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing.

‘They deserve the support and resources needed to enable them to care for patients safely.

‘The current situation is causing stress levels to rise among dental professionals and this is being added to by delays for the minority of cases reaching a fitness to practise investigation.

‘The legislation needed to modernise regulation was due to be introduced this year and was then delayed – it needs to be a top priority again.’

He added: ‘Meanwhile, much needed funds could be retained in the NHS through legal reform of the system under which billions of pounds are leaving the NHS in clinical negligence claims.

‘If the government wants to prove its commitment to the dental profession and to boost morale, we urge them to seriously consider our package of priorities.’

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