In late January the GDC put forth its plans reforming the way it regulates registrants, with the aim of making patients' safety a central aspect by focusing more on prevention of harm.

The publication, Shifting the balance: a better, fairer system of dental regulation, outlines how the GDC hopes to deliver this change. This includes placing a bigger emphasis on education within the profession; supporting patients more effectively so they feel confident that their concerns are appropriately raised and resolved; working more with other organisations to improve regulation; and clarifying how and when the fitness to practice enforcement powers will be used.

As well as the publication, the GDC is asking for comments and views on the proposals. This feedback period will be open until 26 April 2017, and you can offer your thoughts using the survey on the GDC website and by using #shiftingthebalance on social media.

Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU, welcomed the publication of the GDC's proposals, saying that too many complaints currently going to the GDC should be made more appropriately elsewhere.

'Even if the GDC closes the complaint at an early stage as it doesn't meet the fitness to practise procedure, it is often devastating for dentists and other dental professionals,' he said. 'We welcome the GDC's commitment to work with other bodies, such as the DDU, to explore a number of different ways of solving the problem and stemming the flow of inappropriate complaints.'

'We also welcome the recent joint statement on dental complaints, on which the GDC collaborated with other regulators and organisations, which should help to ensure NHS and private patients get clear and consistent messages about what to do if they have a problem.'

'We will be scrutinising these proposals on behalf of our members to ensure they have the desired effect of making the regulatory process more efficient, proportionate and fairer for all involved.'


This article was correct at publication on 13/02/2017. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.