A view from the Chair: questions from colleagues and discussions with Council

06 April, 2022 by Lord Toby Harris

One of my highlights this month has been meeting GDC colleagues in our Birmingham office for a Q&A session. Questions ranged from what my biggest challenges have been so far, my priorities for the next year, and the biggest thing I’d like to achieve in my time as Chair. That’s an easy answer – it’s that we continue to ensure patient safety and public confidence and build respect among the dental professions.

Welcoming a new member to Council

I’m delighted that we were able to welcome a new lay member to the GDC’s Council this month. Ilona Blue brings her experience in finance, governance and programme delivery in central government and the NHS, as well as public health research and executive leadership.

Ilona’s appointment was confirmed just in time for her to join our Council meeting last week, where I’m pleased that she wasted no time in taking an active role in the meeting. Ilona’s appointment brings the Council to full complement.

Our meeting last week was the first time many of the Council have met in person. Being able to have conversations face to face rather than on screen was very welcome, especially as we had a further look at the GDC’s proposed corporate strategy.

Looking ahead to principles of professionalism

It was good to gather views on how we might approach rolling out updated scope of practice and principles of professionalism , after we’ve sought feedback through a public consultation in the autumn. These are both key to the GDC’s work to prevent harm, sometimes called the ‘upstream’ agenda.

For some time we’ve been working with dental professionals and patients to come to a shared understanding of professionalism in dentistry today. How professionalism is understood in practice can be personal and subjective. We’re using our research and engagement to draw up proposed principles of professionalism and review our standards and guidance. Our proposition is that professionals and stakeholders need to understand what these mean for the day-to-day activities of the whole dental team alongside the scope of practice for each individual. I’m looking forward to getting further involved in how we approach this to make sure we engage stakeholders in the development of detailed proposals. 

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