Dentistry in the parliamentary news, and opportunities to join the FTP panel

04 May, 2023 by Lord Toby Harris

This week saw two days of parliamentary discussions on NHS dentistry, with the Health and Social Care Committee’s enquiry continuing on Tuesday 25 April continuing on Tuesday 25 April just after an update on the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). There was also a backbench debate into reforms of NHS dentistry on Thursday 27 April and, separately, DHSC shared that there is work underway on a workforce plan for dentistry.

Not surprisingly, international registration of overseas dentists was mentioned in the course of these discussions. I find it necessary to keep reiterating the point that whilst removing the overly prescriptive legislative constraints is a vital first step towards creating a more effective system, it will not provide an immediate increase in the dental workforce, nor will it do anything to improve access to NHS dentistry in the absence of major reform to the NHS contract.

The GDC recently provided an update on the immediate impact of the international registration legislation changes and the proposals we will consult on in 2023 to replace the current Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) rules, along with our intention to subsequently consult with stakeholders as we develop the longer-term plans for the comprehensive framework.

A reminder to respond to the GDC’s consultations on standards and guidance

Deadlines are starting to approach for you to respond to the GDC’s open consultations. We shared details of the proposals for Scope of Practice guidance with a webinar for dental professionals this week, urging everyone to respond by 11 May.

We’re also consulting, until 8 June, on proposals for guidance on matters that dental professionals must report to the GDC. Changes to our guidance on indemnity and insurance are also out for consultation until 20 June. We plan to repeat online webinars for dental professionals on each of these over the coming weeks.

Make a vital contribution to patient safety and public confidence in dental professionals

Another way for you to get involved in regulation is to apply to join the GDC’s Fitness to Practise Panel. We’re recruiting around 40 panellists, as lay people and dental professionals, who will then be called on to hear cases and sit on committees at adjudication hearings held by the Dental Professionals Hearings Service, which is independent from the GDC.

These are important roles to maintain public confidence in the professions and ensure that patients are safe and applications for dental professionals close on Wednesday 10 May.

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