Fitness to practise hearings

As part of our duty to protect the public we hold formal public hearings into cases about dental professionals.

See the outcomes and appeals list

Hearings are held once a complaint about a dental professional has been investigated and the Case Examiners have decided there is a case. The case is then referred to one of the Practice Committees depending on the type of case, and a hearing is held. Practice Committee hearings form the third and last stage of our complaints procedure.

What happens at a GDC hearing

This video explains how complaints about registered dental professionals are dealt with at the public hearing stage.



The Practice Committees (PC)

  • The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) is charged with determining whether or not a dental professional's fitness to practise is impaired on the basis of the facts found proved. Where a registrant's fitness to practise is found to be impaired the PCC decides whether to impose a sanction. 

  • The Professional Performance Committee (PPC) deals with cases where it appears that a dental professional's performance is consistently falling below an acceptable standard.

  • The Health Committee (HC) deals with cases where the dental professional's fitness to practise is impaired by reason of ill health.

  • The Interim Orders Committee (IOC) can, as an interim measure, suspend or place conditions upon a dental professional before a full inquiry by a PC.  The suspension may be renewed or revoked later. At this stage it is important to note that the allegations have not been tested or proved - this is the work of the PCs.

List of sanctions

Reprimand: This is a statement of the Committee's disapproval, but the registrant is still fit to practise with no restrictions and so no other action needs to be taken.

Conditions: This is where restrictions are placed on the registrant’s registration for a set amount of time. The conditions may include that the registrant must take further training and give us evidence to prove that they are taking steps to improve. The conditions usually have to be reviewed within a certain time. Although conditions may be tailored to fit specific circumstances, they generally follow the format set out in the  Practice Committee Conditions Bank and IOC Conditions Bank. Please read the Practice Committee Conditions Bank in conjunction with this GDC Glossary of Terms (445.5 KB, PDF)  

Occasionally, you may notice information on our online register relating to conditions which is marked "private". Material marked private is non-disclosable except to the registrant. This is because it relates to their mental or physical health or matters relating to their private and family life.

Suspension: The Committee can suspend the dental professional’s registration. This means that the registrant cannot work as a dental professional for that set period of time.

Erasure: This is the most serious sanction as it removes a registrant’s name from the register. This means that they can no longer work in dentistry in the UK.

The current guidance document in use is Guidance for the Practice Committees (including indicative sanctions guidance)​ - updated October 2016.

Attending a hearing

Hearings are normally held in public, but all or part of a hearing may be held in private. Anyone may attend the public parts of a hearing.

Hearings are normally held at CCTV Venues at Smithfield. On some occasions they may also be held at the GDC's offices at 37 Wimpole St.

Please see the outcomes and appeals list​ for the location of each hearing.

Information for journalists

If you require any further information about these hearings please see our Disclosure and Publication Policy, contact the press office on 020 7167 6000 or contact us. 

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Contact GDC

+44 (0) 20 7167 6000

37 Wimpole Street

London W1G 8DQ


Secure area for dental professionals