GDC Update: January 2023

View from the GDC Chair 

Our Chair, Lord Toby Harris, thanks the dental team for their ongoing commitment to patient care as we start the New Year, provides an update on the Professional Standards Authority’s review of the GDC’s performance in 2021/22, and welcomes Jasvinder Matharoo to the Statutory Panellist Assurance Committee in his first blog post of 2023.

Consultation closing on 10 January - Safe practitioner: A framework of behaviours and outcomes for dental professional education 

Our 12-week consultation on revised learning outcomes for new registrants comes to an end next week and we want to make sure that everyone that would like to respond has the opportunity to do so. The consultation is closing on 10 January.

You can find out more and provide your response on our website.

GDC Review of Education 2021/22 published 

One of the ways we fulfil our purpose of maintaining public safety and confidence in dental professionals is through our quality assurance of education and training programmes, which lead to registration as a dental professional. In December, we published our review of that quality assurance activity for the academic year 2021/22.

New guidance on the duty of candour from NHS Resolution

NHS Resolution has published a new animation to improve understanding of the duty of candour and the importance of being open and honest with patients. It includes a helpful explanation of the similarities and differences between the professional and the statutory duty. You can also find the GDC’s guidance on the duty of candour on our website.  

Guidance for the Interim Orders Committee: provide your views 

Our Interim Orders Committee is responsible for considering and controlling any immediate and serious risks to patient safety or public confidence in the dental team. We are currently consulting on improvements to our Interim Orders Committee Guidance and associated documents, and would like to encourage all those with an interest to provide their views.

The revisions we’re proposing aim to:

  • Ensure consistency in our approach to immediate risk.
  • Improve transparency of interim order rules, considerations and decisions.
  • Ensure decisions are proportionate and appropriate to the risks posed.
  • Provide comprehensive guidance to committee panellists.  

We are particularly keen to hear suggestions on how the guidance can be improved to ensure decisions are consistent and proportionate, issues recently highlighted again by our research looking at the experiences of fitness to practise participants.

Please review and respond online to our proposals by 2 February.

DHSC consultation results: clinical negligence cover 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published the results of its consultation on appropriate clinical negligence cover for regulated healthcare professionals. The proposals aim to address serious shortcomings in the current regulation of indemnity products for healthcare professionals identified by the Paterson Inquiry (recommendation 10). The majority of respondents supported the government’s preferred option for legislative change.

The consultation sought views on whether to maintain the current arrangements, or to change legislation to ensure all regulated professionals not covered by a state-backed indemnity scheme hold appropriate clinical negligence cover that is subject to appropriate supervision (regulated). The question of if professional standards should be changed to ensure professional held a regulated indemnity product was also asked. 101 consultation responses were received in total.

Since carrying out its consultation, the DHSC has broadened the scope of the work to include criminal or intentional acts or omissions. It has also continued to develop its evidence base through stakeholder engagement and a survey of healthcare professionals. We have been working with the researchers conducting the survey to ensure the views of dental professional have been included, and will share the findings as soon as they become available.  

The DHSC will be providing further updates as the work progresses in 2023.

Update on international registration reform  

Amendments to the legislation for the registration of dental professionals who qualify outside the UK are currently before parliament. These long-awaited reforms will ensure our legislation has the flexibility needed to modernise our international registration processes.

The proposed reforms were considered by the House of Commons, Delegated Legislation Committee, on 6 December, and will be further debated by the House of Lords, Grand Committee, on 9 January. You can find out more about the proposals, stakeholder views, and the Government’s response in the consultation outcome report published in November.

The timeline remains unclear, and the reforms continue to be subject to parliamentary process. We will continue to keep relevant stakeholders updated as the situation develops. And when the changes are in effect, we plan to bring forward proposals to increase the capacity of the Overseas Registration Exam.

If you have any questions about international registration reform, please contact us.