The most important thing the GDC does to keep patients safe is to maintain the integrity of the registers so that the people on there have appropriate skills, health and conduct – and those who do not meet the standards are not registered. The annual renewal of dental care professionals is therefore an important time, as they make up by far the greatest proportion of the registers.
This year, we have published more data about the annual renewal, including a breakdown of removals by professional title for the last five years. People are removed from the registers for a variety of reasons such as retirement, voluntarily due to a change of career, as well as for non-payment. Fewer people were removed this year than in previous years – 4.9% of people had not renewed their registration by 31 July, compared to an average of 6.4% over the previous four years. However, these figures are a snapshot at a moment in time and the number on the register changes daily as people leave and join.
Hearing from stakeholders
It is good to be starting Autumn with plans to meet and hear from lots of dental professionals. I am personally looking forward to some of my regular meetings with the professional associations and others, and there is the next Dental Leadership Network in November.
Before then, the GDC’s Council will be reviewing the information that feeds into next year’s budget so that we are in a position to make final decisions on the Annual Retention Fee (ARF). We are very much aware that this affects every dental professional, so as you would expect it is a matter that we take extremely seriously, and the process is rightly thorough and rigorous. We will, of course, share our thinking and the outcome as soon as we can.
The optimum way to provide standards and guidance
In September we are starting an engagement exercise to hear feedback from dental professionals and stakeholders on the optimum way to provide standards and guidance. I believe that it is essential that standards and guidance continue to reflect professional practice and what patients expect, that they are useful and are provided in a way that enables professionals to use their professional judgement to deliver the right care for patients in every circumstance.
We are holding a series of webinars to hear people’s views on different ways to achieve this and what is most important if the way that guidance and standards are provided is to change.
You can sign up to attend an online webinar.