A view from the Chair: focused on performance, governance and consultation

05 January, 2023 by Lord Toby Harris

The GDC’s Council ended 2022 with its public meeting in December, where we started by discussing the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) review of the GDC’s performance in 2021/22. This was published just before the meeting started and found that Standards 11 and 15 were not met, specifically the parts of those standards relating to the timely resolution of registration and fitness to practise cases.

The Chief Executive agrees with the PSA’s assessment of performance in this review period. These are particular areas of concern for those of us on the Council and the Executive Team too.  We recognise that our processing of registration applications has not been quick enough. These delays have been caused primarily by team capacity issues resulting from staff recruitment and retention challenges.

We have resolved the challenges we had during the summer period and are working towards returning to normal service levels. Nonetheless, the Council will continue to monitor progress closely.

We will discuss the PSA’s review in more detail in our next Council meeting in February. I know that registration and restoration timeliness have a direct impact on dental professionals, and we will share more information shortly about what we have done and what we are doing to ensure that we can meet our processing times.

A new member of the Statutory Panellists Assurance Committee

The Statutory Panellists Assurance Committee oversees the appointment of members to the GDC’s Fitness to Practise Panel and its Investigating Committee. It performs an important function in ensuring the independence of panels and hearings. We reinforced this administrative separation in June 2022 by establishing the Dental Professionals Hearings Service which holds independent hearings for cases brought by the GDC about dental professionals’ fitness to practise.

I am pleased to welcome a new registrant member to the Statutory Panellists Assurance Committee, Jasvinder Matharoo, an experienced general dental practitioner with over 30 years’ practice in both the NHS and private sectors.

I would also like to thank Martyn Green, who is stepping down after seven years with the Committee, for his contribution and service.

If you are or know of anyone who is interested in being part of the GDC’s governance in future, we are shortly going to start recruitment for two new registrant members to join our Council in Autumn 2023. One of the Council Member appointments will not be expected to initially also sit on the Council’s Committees, which will hopefully reduce the time commitment for that Member and widen opportunities to join the GDC’s Council.

Starting 2023 as we mean to go on

As we start the new year, I want to thank everyone working to deliver dental services and those supporting them for all you have done, and continue to do, to ensure patients can safely access the care they need. 

In line with the GDC’s corporate strategy for the next three years, we plan to bring forward proposals including guidance, standards and international registration – to ensure patient safety and public confidence.

In the meantime, we’re consulting on two sets of proposals which close soon, and I encourage anyone with an interest in these to respond:

The Safe Practitioner: A framework of behaviours and outcomes for dental professional education – consultation closes on 10 January.

Consultation on revisions to Guidance for the Interim Orders Committee and the Interim Orders Committee Conditions Bank – consultation closes on 2 February.

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