A view from the Chair: the GDC’s priorities for early 2024

10 January, 2024 by Lord Toby Harris

How can you get involved in the GDC’s work as 2024 begins?  

I wanted to start the new year by talking about just some of the GDC’s priorities for the first few months, particularly those that are most likely to affect dental professionals and stakeholders. 

The GDC has invited stakeholders to two online roundtable events to discuss what is important if we were to propose a new way to support professionalism, what should happen first and how we ensure that everyone can access the guidance they need. We will also share feedback from the earlier events about the goals of standards and how a less prescriptive principle-based model might work. You can sign up to attend a webinar on 10 or 16 January.  

Around the middle of January, we will publish figures on the number of dentists on the register after the annual renewal. For the first time, we will also have gathered data about the work they do, whether they are working in the NHS or privately, and in clinical or non-clinical roles. We have collected this data as part of the renewal process and will then publish these figures too, once the analysis is complete. 

Revised guidance for indemnity and insurance comes into effect from 12 February, which better supports dental professionals to understand and meet their legal and regulatory obligations, in the interest of patients and maintaining public confidence in the professionals. I thank everyone who responded to the earlier consultation – your feedback was very relevant and definitely improved the final product. 

On 15 February, the GDC’s consultation into making a permanent change for hearings to be remote by default will close and we will use this to make further decisions about the right approach. The proposal is to keep open the option of hearings being in person when there is a good reason to do so.  

In March, the new rules for international registration take effect. Council also has important decisions to make about the application fees for overseas applications, with a view to making the Overseas Registration Exam self-funding. This decision will then allow the GDC to procure services for provision of the exam from appropriate providers. The work to develop a comprehensive framework for a modernised process to register dental professionals who qualify overseas will continue throughout the year. 

We will continue to engage external stakeholders in early 2024, convening a Dental Leadership Network, attending industry events and bringing together education providers to plan implementation of the Safe Practitioner framework of behaviours and outcomes for dental professional education. We will also start work on reviewing and revising the standards of dental education. 

A year of stability as well as change 

No doubt there will be challenges ahead as a general election will be called at some point in 2024, and political debate on dentistry will no doubt continue. 

The GDC will also welcome a new Chief Executive during 2024, which promises to be a year of both stability and change for the GDC. I look forward to working with you as we continue to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the dental professions. 

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