In my experience in the public sector and consumer protection, fairness and confidence in the system is essential. That’s why I think it is so important that we’ve highlighted the independence of the hearings function from the GDC’s investigation and prosecution functions. Our outdated legislation limits what we can do to improve fitness to practice but creating a distinct identity for the Dental Professionals Hearings Service is one of the improvements we can make to improve understanding and confidence in the system. Our Executive Director of Fitness to Practice, John Cullinane, reflects on why we made this move, and he knows better than most the processes and impact of FTP.
Sharing information about the dental sector
The dental sector is complex and involves many different parties, each with their own remit and responsibilities. We regulate the whole dental team across the UK, but we can’t influence the number of dental professionals trained or distributed across the UK – although I have called for the government to review the long-term requirements for the dental professions and specialties we need in the UK.
Undertaking our remit gives us access to information and evidence that may contribute to understanding the wider sector and support the efforts of others to address issues which lie outside of our direct area of responsibility. The research we published into the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the dental sector was a good example of this. The findings showed that profound challenges remain for dental professionals and patients and highlighted how dental professionals have risen to these challenges too.
Looking ahead to consulting on the GDC’s corporate strategy
We’re soon about to start a public consultation into our strategy for the next three years. This is the next step in achieving our long-term ambition of moving dental professional regulation increasingly toward preventing harm to patients and the public, rather than responding to the consequences of it.
Our strategic plans for the next three years were published on 5 July. We’re inviting all those with an interest in the regulation of dental professionals to review our plans and submit their views by midnight on Tuesday 6 September.