Regulatory reform 2021: providing your consultation response

The Department of Health and Social Care has published a consultation document, Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public, setting out proposals for reforming the legislation under which each of the healthcare professional regulators operate, including the GDC.

Our ambitions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of dental professional regulation have long been constrained by limits on what we can do, imposed by the legislation under which we operate. The main problem is that in many areas the legislation is excessively prescriptive, and it can be very slow and cumbersome to change.

And that has very real consequences. It means that we cannot always adapt quickly to changing circumstances and that we can’t always respond flexibly and appropriately. This is a problem in several areas of our work, but particularly so in relation to fitness to practise where the rigidity of the rules doesn’t fit comfortably with the wide variety of circumstances we need to deal with.

At the core of the approach proposed in the consultation document, there would be much more scope for each of the regulators to set their own rules on the detail of how they operate, balanced by strengthening their transparency and accountability to ensure that those powers were used sensibly. There is a lot of detail in the consultation about how that would work in practice, covering:

While we support the overall approach, we are now looking carefully at the detail to make sure that we can achieve the best possible framework for dental regulation. We strongly encourage everybody with an interest in dental regulation to do the same and to respond to the consultation – it’s really important that the Government hears directly from the people and groups these proposals will most directly affect.

For our part, we are keen to hear and discuss views on the reform agenda through the consultation period, to make sure that in our own response to the consultation we are drawing on the collective insights and experience of dental professionals and their patients.

The consultation is open until 16 June. Changes implemented as a result of this consultation are likely to define the regulatory landscape for a generation, so it really matters that we all help the Government to get it right.

The consultation document, Regulating healthcare professionals, protecting the public, which includes details of how to submit your response, is now available on the UK Government website.