Although we have seen a reopening of dental services since June, which we all welcome, it’s obvious that with much of the UK population moving back into tighter restrictions, any recovery to the ‘new normal’ will take longer than we would all like, and as the timescale for this recovery remains unclear, I recognise that many of you will continue to face further hardship and uncertainty in the months ahead.
With this continuing uncertainty around the future shape of dentistry comes new challenges and the GDC, like many of you, are responding to these where we can, although we do know that there will be many important decisions that will need to be made about the year ahead.
As part of the GDC’s annual planning cycle, Council have a number of key decisions to approve at our next meeting, which will be held on Thursday 22 October. These include:
- agreeing and approving the 2021 budget
- agreeing and approving the Costed Corporate Plan (CCP) for 2021-2023
- reviewing and agreeing our Reserves policy
- confirming the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) levels for dentists and DCPs, which will be an output of the agreed budget and CCP.
There is an important process we follow. We start by agreeing what the GDC needs to do to achieve our statutory duties, which is our strategy; work out how we can do that as effectively and efficiently as possible, which is what creates the CCP; and then determine what resources that will need and what that will cost, which gives us our budget. This in turn leads to the income necessary for our statutory duties; we then derive the ARF that we need to collect from that.
This year these decisions will be further complicated by the impact of Coronavirus and what that means for the GDC and the wider profession. Due to the pandemic we have already had to make changes to our original CCP for 2020, with some activities being changed, delayed, or even stopped, and others being accelerated to meet the unique challenges we have faced.
Throughout this period, we have identified and made savings where we can and will continue to look for new ways to increase our efficiency, and I am confident that this will result in a reduced budget for 2021, compared to 2020. However, now that the threat of a second wave from COVID-19 has materialised, we need to consider not only the income and expenditure risks we will face, but also the effect this will have on the dental sector, and consequently the impact this may have on renewal rates, and this will be something we will consider very carefully in the final decisions we make.