GDC’s priorities approved for the next three years

Annual Retention Fee for dentists and DCPs reduced

27 October, 2023 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

The General Dental Council’s priorities have been approved by its Council for the next three years, in line with the regulator’s Corporate Strategy 2023-2025.

In doing so, this has set the budget and Annual Retention Fee (ARF) for 2024 which will be £621 for dentists (a reduction of £69 or 10%) and £96 for dental care professionals (a reduction of £18 or 15.8%).

The Council must review the financial position each year to ensure that there is the right balance of income and expenditure and will do so again in 2025.

The GDC faces continuing high inflation, financial uncertainty and external risk.

It said its intention is that the ARF in 2025 will be retained at the same level to provide certainty for registrants but “this decision must be made at the time of the review, taking into account the GDC’s priorities and external economic factors. “

Lord Toby Harris, the GDC Chair, said: “[The] Council has set fees at a level that ensures we can continue to fulfil our statutory role of maintaining patient safety and public confidence for the next year.

“Although we will review the GDC’s plans again next year, we will go into this with an intention to maintain the ARF at the same level in 2025.”

The GDC said that the level of uncertainty around income and expenditure remains high, due to ongoing volatility in the UK economy.  

While it is confident that the lower level of the ARF will provide the income required for 2024, it will be reviewed for 2025 by Council.

In 2025, the GDC Council will consult on the Corporate Strategy for 2026-2028, which will then set the ARF for subsequent years. 

Ian Brack, the GDCs Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “The GDC faces continuing high inflation, financial uncertainty and external risk.

“We are engaged in a major review of how we take forward international registration in the light of our revised powers, and we are investing in additional capacity to help maintain or improve performance.

“Nevertheless, we have been able to produce a robust plan which delivers these activities and is also expected to provide a reduced ARF for registrants for the remainder of the 2023-2025 strategy period.”

In a statement, the British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) said: “The BAPD welcomes the decision by the GDC to once again set the ARF for 2024/25 at a lower rate than the previous year, and also pledge to try to keep this at the same level for the following year.

“We hope this is because the GDC are now listening to the arguments put forward by the profession for the GDC to control its spending in previous years, and in particular on Fitness to Practice Cases.

“The BAPD still feel the GDC has work to do, especially with regard to the efficiency of the Fitness to Practice process, and rebuilding the profession’s confidence in its regulator.

“However, at a time of increased financial burden for all of us, a reduced annual retention fee will be seen as a welcome change by a profession used to years of unacceptable and poorly justified rises imposed on it by its regulator.”

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