Grasping the nettle at the General Dental Council
 

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Grasping the nettle at the General Dental Council

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Grasping the nettle at the General Dental Council

 

Grasping the nettle at the General Dental Council

'As I write this article, I am approaching my 75th day in office – a great time to reflect on what the General Dental Council has achieved so far, and to look ahead at the challenges we are facing.

During the past few years, there have been substantial changes in the landscape of regulation: we, the profession, are under far greater scrutiny than ever before, and there has been a huge expansion in the size of our register, as all dental care professionals have now joined us.

What has become clear at the GDC is that the scale and scope of the regulatory challenge has changed, and we need to become far more sophisticated as we address the needs of different categories of registrant.

With this challenge has come an increased burden of cost, particularly in the escalating number of Fitness to Practise cases – we anticipated that the numbers of cases would increase because we are responsible for regulating more people, but we certainly did not expect the 40% increase in the number of cases that we received last year relating to the conduct and clinical capability of dentists.

In accordance with the requirements of Government, the new Council is smaller, more ‘board-like' and composed of an equal number of appointed (rather than elected) lay and registrant members.

The start of a new Council is the right time for reform and we have already written the first chapter. We know that our paramount duty is to protect patients and to ensure that the standards we set and the regulatory process that support these, are as cost effective and efficient as they can be.

But, in the short term, the Council recognises that there will need to be a closer match between organisational resources and regulatory functions, especially in Fitness to Practise. It is the strength of this Council that it has grasped the nettle on these issues straight away, and set about the task of solving them.

We are looking ahead to the future, we recognise that our business processes must be smart, and our technology and systems up to date, to minimise the burden of cost, in an environment which could impose costs rising exponentially. I have no intention of allowing this to happen, but it means that we must move rapidly to make progress.

Our policy-making agenda is undoubtedly going to have its moments as well. During this Council term, we expect to be delivering our revalidation scheme, more work, more cost.

We will also be considering a whole range of issues which I know from my postbag are important to registrants, such as our future approach to English language testing; registering additional qualifications; education provision and recognition of the qualifications of DCPs; the checking of indemnity insurance and a range of potential changes to our current legislation, amongst others.

It's important to me that as much of our agenda as possible should be discussed in public, but there will always be times where to do so might be prejudicial to the effective discharge of the Council's functions, and this can apply when sensitive commercial or staff issues are under discussion.

I am under no illusion that the next four years will be easy, but I am very much looking forward to leading the Council through this period of reform and change to deliver profound benefits for our profession. I believe that‘s worth the effort.

Alison Lockyer


Bulging postbag
Based on the flood of letters from registrants, Alison reveals some plans in the pipeline for the GDC:
• English language testing
• Registration of additional qualifications
• Education provision
• Recognition of the qualifications of DCPs

• Indemnity insurance checks

 Posted on : Mon 15th - Mar - 2010

 

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