Rebecca Cooper is the Head of GDC Policy and Research Programme.
The consultation on our Corporate Strategy 2020 – 2022 is now open (link to <consultations and responses>). We want to hear your views about our plans for ensuring we fulfil the objectives that Parliament has set for us and the costs associated with doing so.
Our first strategic aim is about how we ensure that the regulatory system works to prevent things from going wrong by focusing on education and engagement, supporting career-long learning and promoting high standards of care and professional conduct.
Of the five strategic aims, I think it's fair to say that this has the broadest reach, so for the purposes of this blog, I'll just highlight the main points.
It's in everyone's best interests for regulation to focus on promoting high standards of care and professionalism, and thereby preventing problems arising, rather than on intervening afterwards. For shorthand, we call this 'upstream' regulation.
When thinking about this then, we want to start at the very beginning of dental professionals' careers; their education and training, and much progress has been made in this area already.
Following a consultation in 2018, we introduced significant changes to how we assure the quality of dental programmes. In the coming three years we will be fully implementing the new thematic and risk-based approach, using the learning from our pilots.
We are also planning to look at more systemic issues, such as whether the current approach to university selection – which is often based on academic results, is the best way to deliver the right pool of talent for the future healthcare workforce.
When we talk about professionalism, I am always mindful that it frequently means different things to different people. In the Strategy though we set out the specific things we are proposing in this area over the next three years.
This includes research and further engagement to build a better understanding of what 'professionalism' means to the public, with the view to reaching a shared and sustainable understanding.
From this we plan to develop principles of professionalism where common ground will be sought with other regulators and which will focus on the best interests of the patient.
CPD and lifelong learning
The Strategy also sets out our plans for the further development of CPD, or 'career-long learning', a term which I think better reflects the continuation from pre to post-qualification learning and development.
These aim to build on our work in 2019 to more clearly understand the expectations of patients and the public in respect of professionalism. In June we are launching a discussion on the future development of CPD for dental professionals. We want to hear your views then too, so please look out for that.
Tell us your views
In 2018 we introduced a new approach to the way fees are set for dental professionals. As a result, and for the first time, we are now able to share our proposals and the associated expenditure plans in a way which we think enables a far more constructive conversation with our stakeholders.
What I've written about here only gives a flavour of what we are proposing for the next three years. There is a lot more detail in the Strategy itself, so please read our wider proposals and tell us your views. This is your chance to tell us what you think of our plans and their related costs for the next three years.
Respond to our consultation here