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Dentists reject 'fitness to practise' claims

General Dental Council

2 min read Partner content

The governing body for UK dentists has hit back at claims that some of its disciplinary procedures are flawed.

Dental Protection, an organisation that provides legal and other support services to dentists, claimed the General Dental Council(GDC) has unnecessarily progressed many of the complaints it receives through its Fitness to Practise processes.

"Individual pieces of information which reach the GDC are very often not complaints at all, but matters which can and should have been acted upon by other parties or organisations," said Kevin Lewis, Dental Director at Dental Protection.

"They become Fitness to Practise matters by default."

Lewis also claimed the GDC "regularly investigates matters that would not concern any other dental regulator in the world that we work with".

The GDC said:

"Dental Protection is well aware that the GDC has a statutory duty to investigate complaints.

"It is also very familiar with the limitations of the GDC 's legislative procedures which currently dictate the GDC 's approach to handling cases.

"Dental Protection omits to say that we are actively working with the Department of Health on changing our legislation to allow for more streamlined and effective case handling. The introduction of case examiners - a power long held by the GMC - will help us to deal more speedily and effectively with cases.

"Unfavourable comparisons with other health regulators in the UK and those abroad do not stand up to scrutiny because of the disparity of powers held by regulators in the UK and the very different health systems that exist abroad."

The GDC said it "accepts" that more work is needed, across the system, to develop a clearer picture of why complaints are increasing and to have effective arrangements in place for local resolution.

It has called for Dental Protection and other such bodies to "contribute to the development of more effective complaint resolution systems - local and central - by sharing their intelligence in a constructive dialogue with the GDC".

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