GDC asks whether all Council Members should be appointed

The General Dental Council (GDC) is calling for views on the shape of its Council following the introduction of statutory registration for dental nurses, technicians and other dental care professionals (DCPs). The constitution of the Council was last reformed in 2001 to make the Council more strategic, open, accountable and responsive. The Council currently has 29 members. 15 are dentists, four are dental hygienists and/or therapists and 10 are members of the public. Members hold office for five years and can apply for election (dental professional members) or appointment (lay members) as many times as they wish. In March 2006 the GDC set up a review group to consider how the constitution of the Council should change. This would take account of significant changes, including the fact that dentists would no longer be the largest group of registrants. The group has proposed an amended constitution for the Council and is now asking for the views of the public, dental professionals, Government, healthcare providers and others on three key areas. Should all Council members be appointed? The dental professional members of the Council are currently elected by other registered dental professionals. The review group recommends that all members of Council should be appointed by the Appointments Commission. An appointments system for all categories of member will help ensure the Council has the best possible range of skills to carry out its business and will also help to clarify that the role of dental professional members in the Council is not to represent those who voted for them. Does the President of the GDC need to be a dentist? Under the current constitution the President is elected by the Council but must be one of the dentist members. The review group recommends that in the future the Council can elect any of its members to be President. How should the composition of Council be made up in the future? The Dentists Act requires the dentist members of Council to have a majority of one over the other members. Currently there are 15 dentist members, 10 lay members, and four DCPs. By 2008, when registration for all DCP groups will be compulsory, it is unlikely that dentists will still be the largest group of registrants. Therefore the group has asked several questions to try to ensure a fair way forward. The review group recommends that as the GDC is a professionally-led organisation, the registrant members on Council should be in the majority. GDC President Hew Mathewson said: "The GDC is keen to ensure that the views of all dental professionals are taken into consideration when setting the strategic direction of the GDC and overseeing the planned work programme. "I encourage all interested parties to visit our website for details of the consultation and to share their views, and any concerns, with us." The consultation document is available on this website: The closing date for responses is 18 January 2007.