Government proposals fall short in latest round of regulatory reform – and must accelerate

16 May, 2023

Government proposals that pave the way for full scale reform of the regulatory frameworks of all healthcare professional regulators including the GDC will close for comments today.  

As the regulator of the UK dental team, while we strongly support the Government’s reform intentions, we have considerable reservations about how effective these proposals will be in modernising healthcare regulation. 

We are particularly concerned about the proposed framework for fitness to practise (initial assessment and grounds for impairment), the proposed introduction of the need to prove an intent to deceive in illegal practice, and the proposals on fee-setting. In many places, the draft legislation is simply not clear, creating risks of uncertainty and confusion if it is not improved. 

But our greatest concern is that we still do not have even an indicative timetable for reform of the Dentists Act, which means the opportunity for improvement is still years away.     

The consultation issued by the Department of Health and Social Care, Regulating anaesthesia associates and physician associates, sets out draft legislation to bring these two professional titles into regulation. While we welcome this next step in the regulatory reform programme, the pace needs to be much faster to ensure we are an efficient, effective and proportionate regulator.  

Stefan Czerniawski, GDC Executive Director, Strategy, said: “Inadequate and outdated legislation is a serious obstacle to effective regulation and the need for reform is increasingly urgent. While it is good to see some progress being made, the pace of change is still disappointingly slow. The current legislative framework continues to limit our ability to adapt to meet the changing needs of patients and the dental team, and to drive improvements across our regulatory functions.” 

We have set out our concerns in detail in our response to the consultation.  

You will find a short summary of our concerns on our regulatory reform webpage

Consultation closes 11.45pm on 16 May 2023.