Latest Updates from the GDC

View from the Chair: Welcoming our new Chief Executive and getting on with delivering our priorities

Our Chair, Lord Toby Harris welcomes Tom Whiting, talks about data about dental professionals’ working patterns and talks about the GDC’s priorities and the impact of the general election.

Tom Whiting joins the GDC as Chief Executive Officer and Registrar 

Tom Whiting has now joined the GDC as our Chief Executive Officer and Registrar. In his first month, Tom will meet Chief Dental Officers from the four nations and dental leaders. He will also start a series of visits to meet dental teams in different settings across the UK.  

Tom Whiting said: 

“I understand the pressures that the dental sector is under and the hard work of the whole dental team to ensure that patients have the care they need. 

“Trust between professionals and the regulator is important for patients and public confidence. I will listen to the views and challenges of dental professionals and stakeholders as well as get to know where and how they work. 

“Building my own understanding will help me to identify shared goals and how we can work together to make a positive difference to dental professionals and patients. This will take time, but I’m committed to making a start right away.”

Tom joins from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, where he was Acting Director General for 17 months, having been Deputy Director General since 2019.  

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy for 2024-2025

We have reviewed and updated our EDI strategy for 2024-2025, setting out our ambitions and objectives for the next two years. We have a significant role in promoting EDI and identifying and tackling discrimination and inequality through our regulatory functions. 

Find out more about our EDI objectives and approach on our website.  

Additional dental workforce pattern data

At the end of May, we released some additional data as part of the dentists working patterns survey. The data provides location-based information on the proportion of dentists who are providing NHS care, private care or both, and how much time they spent working in clinical or non-clinical roles.   

Registration and fitness to practise statistical reports for 2023

Our 2023 registration and fitness to practise statistical reports are now available online. You will find an overview of changes to the register over the course of the year and key activities and outcomes related to fitness to practise inquiries and investigations.  

Key statistics from the reports:

  • There was a 3.9% increase in the total number of dental professionals on the register; the number of dentists rose by 2.4% and DCPs by 4.9%.
  • We processed 11,476 registration applications from the UK and overseas in 2023, marking a significant increase from the previous peak of 8,979 applications in 2015.
  • The number of new fitness to practise concerns received increased slightly from 1,264 in 2022 year to 1,297 (2.5%) in 2023.
  • There was a drop in the number of cases referred to a practice committee, with 132 cases referred to the Dental Professionals Hearings Service in 2023 compared to 156 the year before. 

You can find both statistical reports for 2023 on our website. 

Our response to proposals about provisional registration 

Our response to the Department of Health and Social Care on proposals to amend legislation to provide for provisional registration for overseas-qualified dentists was published on 16 May. While welcoming the proposals, we also set out a number of suggestions for amendments to the draft legislation to ensure that provisional registration can work safety, effectively and sustainably.

You can find out more about our response to the consultation on our website.  

Tendering for the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) opened in May 

Tendering for provision of the ORE Part 1 and Part 2 for the next five years opened in May, immediately following an early market engagement exercise carried out from February to April. We are looking to improve access to the ORE, which is for internationally qualified dentists who want to work in the UK but whose qualifications are not recognised for the purposes of registration.

This will be the first procurement for the ORE since legislative changes removed financial and supplier constraints. We want to work with suppliers to improve flexibility and capacity, while ensuring that the ORE remains a robust assessment of skills and knowledge.  

We are working to ensure new contracts are in place in early 2025. 

Government proposals for a ‘tie-in’ to NHS dentistry in England 

The Department of Health and Social Care is inviting views on proposals for a ‘tie-in’ to NHS dentistry for graduate dentists. The proposals apply to England only. This eight-week consultation is due to close on 18 July.