Profession’s opinion of GDC hits new low

Regulator publishes stakeholder perceptions research and plans for improvement

25 November, 2021 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

The results of research undertaken in 2020, designed to better understand professionals’, students’ and other stakeholders’ perceptions of the General Dental Council (GDC), and test understanding of the regulator’s role, was published today.

The results indicate that overall perceptions of the GDC were more negative (58 per cent) than positive (21 per cent) in 2020, and that views amongst the dental team have worsened from when the same questions were posed in 2018. Conversely, views of the GDC improved slightly amongst dental students and other stakeholders.

The report also highlights a lack of universal understanding of the regulator’s role, with almost half of all professionals surveyed believing the GDC was responsible for setting clinical standards, which the GDC pointed out – is not the case.

“The findings don’t make comfortable reading,” said Stefan Czerniawski, the GDC’s Executive Director.

Ian Brack, the GDC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, added: “The findings in this report illustrate some of the frustrations felt in the sector and where we can direct our efforts.

“The pandemic has thrown up new challenges for us all and exposed some historic ones, not least the need for those we regulate to understand our role and our shared responsibilities in ensuring patients are protected, and public confidence is maintained.”

Reflecting on the findings that dissatisfaction with fitness to practise performance was a significant contributor to negative perceptions, Brack continued: “I am accountable for performance of the GDC and very clear about what has not gone well and what we’re doing about it.

“Without regulatory reform, our ability to significantly improve the fitness to practise process is largely limited to making marginal operational improvements and applying more resource to an inefficient system. Nevertheless, I am determined that we will make the improvements we can.”

More detailed commentary on the research, as well as reflection on fitness to practise performance and improvement is available on the GDC’s website.

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