The GDC works with a range of partners to achieve both our primary purpose of protecting patients and maintaining public confidence in dental services, as well as achieving the objectives set out in Patients, Professionals, Partners and Performance
, our corporate strategy. We work with the NHS, government, other health professional and systems regulators, patient groups, among others.
Examples of partnership working include:
Shifting the Balance
In January 2017 the General Dental Council launched a discussion document with a three month period of consultation entitled 'Shifting the Balance: a better, fairer system of dental regulation'.
This discussion aims to get the views, input and opinions of the dental profession across the UK on the state and future of dental regulation, to help ensure dental regulation is fit for the future.
You can find further information on the discussion document, including how to contribute, on the website
Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board (RDSPB)
The Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board (NHS England, the NHS Business Services Authority, the Department of Health, the Care Quality Commission, the General Dental Council and Healthwatch England) have published a statement on dental complaints to ensure there is a shared understanding of the correct route for complaints among providers.
The statement has been produced in recognition of the fact that:
- the dental complaints system is complex and confusing for patients, providers and regulators – especially given the mixed public/private provision of dental services;
- overlaps between organisations bring a lack of clarity, with multiple organisations potentially responsible for different aspects of the same complaint;
- there is a lack of consistency: different organisations are subject to different timeframes for dealing with complaints, and cover different nations of the UK;
- patients who initially approach the ‘wrong’ body may then be lost to the system completely.
The primary audience for the statement is providers, who will be able to check that their patient-facing materials and processes are compatible with it. The national bodies that are signed up the statement will also use it as a basis for their communication with patients.
A new process of dealing with concerns was introduced in 2016 to encourage resolution between the dental professional and the patient.
Each year, the GDC receives hundreds of concerns that could be resolved locally, without it becoming a fitness to practise case
, if there was an agreement in place.
This follows an earlier pilot with the majority of NHS England's Regional Teams. When a concern is sent to the regulator which does not significantly impact on a dental professional's ability to practise dentistry, but falls into one or more of the referral criteria, there is an agreement that it will be referred to the NHS to resolve.
This will be either through the performance teams or through a formal complaint if the patient decides this is the best option.
Examples of low-level concerns include:
- single, isolated incidents where there is not a pattern of repeated behaviour;
- evidence of poor communication between the dental professional and the patient;
- evidence of poor record keeping; and
- where the dental professional has failed to adequately explain dental charges.
The process will encourage an early conversation between the NHS and the patient to enable a more adequate assessment of which is the most appropriate organisation to investigate the concern.
As outlined in Shifting the balance
, this will allow the GDC to focus its resources on cases involving serious performance issues or investigating allegations of misconduct when someone's clinical ability, attitude or behaviour results in either harm to a patient or where the risk of harm is significant.