Since 1 November 2016, the way that we decide if a case should be referred to a Practice Committee changed. From that date, cases were no longer referred to the Investigating Committee for a decision, but instead have been considered by the case examiners.
The case examiners are appointed GDC staff members with a statutory duty to make decisions. Case examiners take over the case after casework have looked into the concern and referred the matter for more in depth consideration. Each case is considered by a pair of case examiners, one lay and one a dentist or dental care professional. They review all the relevant evidence gathered by casework, including any evidence provided by the registrant or the informant.
The case examiners are not asked to decide the facts of the case. They do not consider if the allegations made against a registrant are true or not true. The case examiners are required instead to consider if there is a real prospect that the allegation in the case could be proved and that, if proven, it would suggest that the registrant's ability to practice as a dental professional may be effected. The case examiners work using a filtering process, closing some cases without further action and referring others for a full hearing.
In coming to that determination the case examiners consider:
whether there is a real prospect of the facts, as alleged being found proved, and if so,
whether or not there is a real prospect of the statutory ground being established (e.g. misconduct), and if so,
whether or not there is a real prospect of a finding of current impairment being made.
The real prospect test means that the case examiners have to decide if there is a genuine, not remote or fanciful, possibility of establishing at a Practice Committee, that the registrant's ability to practise as a dental professional is currently impaired.
The case examiners have a number of outcomes available to them when making a decision:
to adjourn the case for further information;
to close the case and take no further action;
to issue a letter of advice to the registrant;
to issue a warning to the registrant;
to issue a warning to the registrant and direct that the warning should be published on the GDC website;
to refer the case to the Interim Orders Committee;
to ask the registrant to agree a series of undertakings on their registration; or
to refer the case to one of the three practice committees for a full inquiry.
The GDC's three Practice Committees are:
It is important to note that when one or both of the case examiners consider it appropriate, they may refer the case to the Interim Orders Committee (IOC). The IOC will consider if a dental professional's registration should be suspended, or made subject to conditions, prior to the full hearing.
For more information please see our Disclosure and Publication Policy.
Please ensure that you keep the GDC informed of any changes to your address or other contact details as the case review team (CRT) will need to be able to contact you during your period of undertakings.
If you would like to contact us, please use our online form.
The GDC has 14 case examiners; nine clinical and five lay.
Follow the links below to learn more about the case examiners: