GDC seeks workforce insights as part of renewal process
As part of an effort to deepen the understanding the dental workforce the General Dental Council (GDC) will be asking dental professionals to share a few details of their working patterns as part of their annual renewal.
This additional work pattern data, which will be provided on a voluntary basis, will help to build on the very limited workforce data that the dental sector can currently use.
The GDC is able to address this challenge as it is in the unique position of having the most complete data available; a list of everyone who is registered to practise dentistry, across all the professions and the four nations of the UK.
Understanding more about the dental workforce will provide valuable insight for resource planning
However, the registration data currently held only says who is registered with the GDC and does not provide details of what they are doing. The responses the GDC receives will help it and others to better understand:
- Where dental professionals are working.
- What they are doing.
- The number of hours they are working.
- Whether they are working in NHS or private practice.
- How the way dental professionals are working changes over time.
All submissions will be anonymous and the GDC will ensure that no individual can be identified.
Furthermore, the answers dental professionals provide will not affect their access to services or how the GDC treats them. The GDC will use the responses to undertake analyses, produce reports and make the data available to any external organisations and stakeholders who request it.
Helping the sector to understand its workforce better will inform discussions and support better decision-making to improve access to services in the future, it said.
Gurvinder Soomal, GDC Chief Operating Officer said: “We know that information about dental professionals’ working patterns is limited, which makes workforce planning challenging.
“Following discussions with many stakeholders across dentistry, we have decided to ask dental professionals to provide some additional information as part of their renewal process.
“Understanding more about the dental workforce will provide valuable insight for future workforce resource planning.
“Completing this is a valuable opportunity, as having a better understanding of our workforce and its needs can only help bring about the changes the profession and patients want and needed.”
The British Dental Association (BDA) is encouraged registrants to take part in the voluntary collection of workforce data, to help provide a clear picture of the crisis facing NHS dentistry.
The BDA believes this process has scope to “give the clearest impression of the challenges facing the dental workforce, UK wide. The regulator has given reassurances that the data will not be used to identify individuals and data will be published anonymously. DCP data collection will coincide with their registration cycle in July.”
BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: “We have long argued that there should be better workforce data given the wholesale inadequacy of the information currently available. The GDC is the logical organisation to undertake this work given its regular interaction with all registrants.
“This is purely voluntary, and we’ve received explicit assurances that all responses will be anonymised.
“At present Ministers can’t tell where the real ‘dental deserts’ are. We would encourage all dentists to participate, so we can provide the clearest of picture of the crisis this service faces.”