GDC “strongly rejects” Dental Protection claims

15 September, 2014 / editorial

The GDC has rejected claims from indemnity organisation Dental Protection (DPL) that the regulator has unnecessarily progressed many of the complaints it receives through its Fitness to Practise (FtP) procedures. It also rejects the claim that the council sees no potential for improving the FtP system.

Last week, DPL went public with its criticisms of the GDC as the consultation on the proposed 64 per cent ARF increase closed.

In response, a press statement from the GDC read: “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.

“Dental Protection is aware of the many improvements that have been made by the GDC – despite the constraints of its legislation – aimed at handling and re-directing complaints more appropriately.“

The regulator argued that the improvements introduced include:

  • The introduction of a triage process;
  • Obtaining clinical advice on complaints at an early stage of investigation;
  • The introduction of comprehensive guidance for those making assessment decisions early in the process about when and where it is appropriate to close cases.

The statement concluded by saying: “The GDC 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. We are currently working on a number of pilots with NHS local area teams aimed at ensuring that more complaints are handled at the right level and re-directed if necessary.

“We urge 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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