GDC defends no case to answer increase
With 10 Fitness to Practice cases thrown out last year, costing registrants an estimated £780,000, the GDC has revealed that a more streamlined complaints system will be introduced
The number of GDC Fitness to Practise (FtP) cases that are thrown out with ‘no case to answer’ increased from just two in 2014 to 10 last year, costing registrants an estimated £780,000.
Glasgow dentist Arshad Ali was one of those registrants summoned to Wimpole Street in November but the expected five-day hearing was cut-short on the second day after all the charges against him were found to be not proven and it was declared there was no case to answer. Mr Ali, who has been advised not to comment on the specifics, explained to Scottish Dental magazine that the whole process took just under a year from first letter to the hearing itself. He said that the process put him, his family and staff through “major stress” before and during the hearing, involving cancelled clinics and time away from his practice for meetings and the hearing itself.
According to the GDC’s own figures, the cost of an average FtP case reaching a hearing in 2013 was £78,000. However, a spokesman for the GDC played down this number, saying that the average hearing is now just under four days in duration and costs in the region of £23,000.
Jonathan Green, director of FtP at the regulator, said that the “slight increase” in no cases to answer between 2014 and 2015 had to be put into context in that there were 286 hearings in 2015 compared to 194 in 2014.
He said: “Later this year the introduction of case examiners will lead to a more streamlined complaints system with powers to agree undertakings on less serious cases. This will reduce the number of cases goings as far as Practice Committee hearings.
“There is a likelihood there will always be some no cases to answer as this is often due to the complexities of cases and evidence put in front of Panel members. The Panel is independent of the GDC and ultimately make the final decision on whether it is the treatment offered by the practitioner or their conduct which falls below the standards expected.”