GDC urged to strengthen commitment to reduce backlog in case examiner process

GDC increases ARF payments – reactions from the profession

MDDUS (Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is urging the General Dental Council (GDC) to redouble its commitment to ease the existing backlog in the case examiners process.

The dental defence specialist said that delays in concluding the case examiners’ consideration of allegations against registrants is a cause of stress and anxiety amongst dentists. New data from the GDC shows that only 55% of cases complete investigation within six months.

Rachael Bell is head of dental at MDDUS. She said: ‘We are pleased to see an increase in the number of cases closing with no action and the 15% decrease in cases referred to full practice committee hearings. However the GDC must not sit on its laurels.

‘Urgent attention is needed to address the backlog in the case examiners process. The GDC’s own data shows that only 55% of cases completing investigation within the regulator’s own target of six months.

‘The GDC needs to be bolder at case closures given that, of those that passed case examiner stage, more than a third closed without action.

‘Any and all measures put in place to minimise the impact of concerns raised with the GDC on the health and wellbeing of registrants has to be a priority.’

‘Valuable opportunity’

The General Dental Council (GDC) recently welcomed the government consultation into provisional registration for overseas dentists – but warned it will come with ‘significant costs’.

In February, the government proposed plans to enable overseas-qualified dentists who have not yet achieved full GDC registration to be able to work in the UK more quickly through a provisional registration system.

The regulator published its response to the government’s proposal, calling it a ‘valuable opportunity’ for overseas clinicians.

However, the GDC stressed the importance of the proposed legislation providing the right framework. It called for further work for them to develop the rules and system in collaboration with other stakeholders.

Provisional registration would allow an overseas-qualified dentist to practise in any dental setting, including high street dental practices. It would also have to be under the supervision of a dentist who has full registration on the GDC’s dentist register.

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