Dental technicians call for ‘pragmatic’ approach to regulation

Dental technicians call for 'pragmatic' approach to regulation

We hear from members of the dental technology profession about why they are supporting Dentistry’s Saving Grace campaign.

Dentistry believes the current regulation system lacks the necessary flexibility and understanding, and does not account for human error or unforeseen circumstances that may cause a dental professional to miss registration or CPD deadlines.

From dental technicians to dental nurses, we have heard numerous stories of dedicated dental professionals being removed from the register due to minor administrative errors – be it forgetting to pay their ARF or being an hour or two short on their continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

As a result, we have launched Saving Grace. This is a campaign focused on working with the GDC to help introduce a mandatory grace period following both registration and CPD statement deadlines.

This would provide a much-needed buffer, reducing unnecessary removals from the register at such a critical time in UK dentistry.

You can sign the petition here!

The Dental Laboratories Association (DLA)

The dental technology profession is facing a number of key challenges right now, many of which focus around the retention and recruitment of dental technicians in the UK. 

As the representative body for dental laboratories in the UK, we have regular and increasingly more proactive discussions with the General Dental Council (GDC) which are starting to recognise some of the concerns raised in this new campaign regarding the CPD and the registration process for dental technicians. 

The DLA will continue to work independently with the GDC, but support the work FMC are doing in this area. We believe any constructive and informed debate about the progression and long-term security of UK dental technology should be encouraged from all stakeholders.

Anonymous dental technician 

It is difficult to suggest ways in which the GDC can improve its processes.

The methods of the GDC do not help our profession’s confidence in them as our regulator.

Also, the case where a dental technician was erased for CPD non-compliance after being seriously ill. Does our regulator need to be so rigid in its methods in order to ensure patient safety? 

I would say the general feeling is low, and I will be interested to see what stance our profession takes with the GDC in the near future.

Matt Everatt, Laboratory editor in chief 

I am very aware that the GDC have had low tolerance if CPD has been submitted late. There was a particular case where a dental technician was late due to severe health issues. We have now lost that technician from our profession as he found it was too onerous to go through the registration process again, especially during a period of ill health.

If the GDC took a more pragmatic approach and considered a mandatory period of grace, and took into account extenuating circumstances, it is likely we would see fewer registrants give up on their profession. 

This has a detrimental effect on labs trying to recruit, and in turn patient safety and wellbeing no doubt suffers as a consequence. We are seeing the number of registered dental technicians decline rapidly. We simply aren’t training enough to replace those leaving the profession.

I urge all dental professionals to sign this petition in the hope that we can be a united voice in asking the GDC for a reasonable discussion about offering a grace period for DCPs and their CPD submissions if required.

John Makin, head of the Dental Defence Union (DDU)

Our skills as dental professionals are in increasing demand. 

We understand why dental colleagues are frustrated by the administrative process of GDC registration and would welcome additional reminders being sent to dental professionals by the GDC about CPD requirements. 

We support the sentiment behind the Dentistry campaign. However, under the current rules, it is not within the GDC’s power to change the grace period.

This is why we are continuing to press for reform to allow for the GDC to be able to make such common sense changes in future.         

Read more about Saving Grace here:

Please join us in advocating for this crucial reform by signing our petition today:

Get involved! If you would like to write an article for the campaign, please email [email protected].

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