A view from the Chair: one year on and looking to the future

05 October, 2022 by Lord Toby Harris

I have now been in post at the GDC for a year and the discussions I have had during that time have helped me to better understand the challenges facing dentistry. 

Particularly valuable has been the opportunity to meet with stakeholders across the sector. There is a web of stakeholders across government, education, healthcare and the professions with which the GDC engages and I remain committed to building and strengthening our relationships. 

Feedback on our Corporate Strategy

The last year has seen the GDC reviewing its corporate strategy. The public consultation on this closed on 6 September and the responses we received highlighted a number of themes. Many of the comments reminded of us of past events (sometimes nearly a decade past) that the GDC did or were believed to be involved in, showing how this continues to influence perceptions. There was understandable concern that an increase in fees could increase pressure on already stretched practice and professional budgets. But we also heard acknowledgements that the strategy aims that we consulted on are aligned to the things that matter to dental professionals. 

We’re still reviewing those responses, but we have also been continuing to cut costs and look for further efficiencies. We’re also very aware that our decisions directly affect the approximately 114,000 dental professionals on our registers.  

These are times of great economic uncertainty, difficult for every business and organisation in the UK, including dental professionals, dental groups, the GDC and other regulators. I understand the pressure that the sector is under. 

Making financial decisions at a time of uncertainty

The GDC’s Council will make decisions on our budget and the annual retention fee in October and we should be in a position to announce the ARF shortly. Like everyone in the dental sector, we’re having to make long-term decisions against a high level of uncertainty and risk. We have to be able to demonstrate that we are a going concern to the auditors and, ultimately, parliament, so that we can continue to protect patients and meet our legal obligations. 

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