Our final meeting of the year was again held virtually, where Council reviewed the GDC’s performance and work up to the end of quarter three, as well as discussing and approving new activities that will start in 2021.
As part of the meeting Council took the opportunity to review our Corporate Strategy 2020-2022 Right time, right place, right touch considering the impact of the current pandemic. Although our core statutory objectives have remained unchanged by the impact of COVID-19, the effect of the pandemic on the practice of dentistry has been enormous, and the context in which we operate has changed dramatically since March. This means that the way in which we work with the public, patients, stakeholders, and professionals has had to change. To help better understand this impact we held several stakeholder workshops and commissioned research to find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on the public and dental professionals. You can read the two reports and a summary of our findings here.
What this has helped us understand is that whilst the environment in which we operate has changed, our role remains the same; we protect and maintain the health safety and wellbeing of the public and uphold professional standards for the confidence of the dental team. This means that although the emphasis of our work may change slightly in 2021, Council are confident that our corporate strategy remains the right one.
Council was also asked to review different options to develop a revised Scope of Practice (SoP) guidance, which was last reviewed in 2013. We know the current version is widely used by dental professionals, particularly DCPs. However, a lot has changed in the way dental services are delivered since the SoP was first written, and we know that the SoP in its current form is causing some issues with dental professionals and could be improved. Council recognised the benefits in developing an updated SoP and recommended that any future revisions should avoid additional detail and prescription; rather any new version of the guidance should be more explicit about what individuals can’t do, rather than what they can do. On that basis Council approved further work to be undertaken in 2021, encouraging the team to work collaboratively with the profession as they start to revise and update the current version.
I am also pleased to advise of the appointment of four new members to our Statutory Panellists Assurance Committee (SPC), who will join from January 2021. They are Sir Ross Cranston FBA, who joins as SPC Chair, and new members Serbjit Kaur MBE, Carol Ashton and His Honour Phillip Sycamore. You can read more about the new members and the purpose of the SPC here. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the outgoing Committee Chair Rosie Varley and members Tim Skelton and Nigel Fisher, for their dedicated service to the organisation and wish them every success for the future.
Finally, as I reflect on what has been a year that none of us could ever have anticipated back in January, I would like to say thank you - to all the GDC staff and associates who have adapted to new and different ways of working; and to you for helping to keep dental services safe throughout the pandemic.
The Council and I look forward to continuing to work with you in 2021.