Latest Updates from the GDC

View from the Chair

Our Chair, Lord Toby Harris, encourages dental care professionals to provide information about their working pattern with us during this year’s annual renewal, and explains the work we’re doing to help students and trainees to understand what it means to be a regulated professional following the publication of new research into perceptions of the GDC from those who are just starting their career in dentistry.  

And on the eve of the general election, the Chair highlights the higher than usual profile that dentistry has had in the parties’ campaigns leading up to tomorrow’s vote.  

You will find the view from the Chair on our website. 

Medicine exemptions for dental hygienists and dental therapists

On 26 June, we welcomed a change in legislation that aims to improve direct access for patients to dental hygienists and dental therapists, while promoting better use of the skill mix in the dental team. 

The change enables dental hygienists and dental therapists across the UK to supply and administer specific prescription-only medicines under an exemptions mechanism, without the need for a dentist's prescription, a patient-specific direction or a patient group direction. 

More on administering medicines under exemptions is provided on our website. 

Dental Leadership Network focusing on health and wellbeing

The Dental Leadership Network met in London on 12 June to spotlight the crucial role of dental leaders in promoting health and wellbeing within the profession.

Speakers included representatives from the Diversity in Dentistry Action Group on the importance of creating a culture of belonging and inclusion in the dental workplace, Dental Core Trainee Zain Hameed discussing the management of a chronic health condition in dentistry, and Dr Mahrukh Khwaja covering resilience strategies, highlighting both team and individual interventions.

Panel discussions were held on mental health wellness in the workplace and the link between a healthy dental team and exceptional patient care. Tom Whiting, the GDC’s new Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, delivered the closing address.

Find out more about the Dental Leadership Network

Publishing less information about Interim Orders Committee outcomes

We have changed our approach to what will be published following decisions by the Interim Orders Committee, following a review of our policy. We know that fitness to practise investigations can be intrusive, and stress can be caused not just by the experience but also by the information made publicly available while inquiries are ongoing.  

The change means that Dental Professionals Hearings Service will no longer publish determinations made by the Interim Orders Committee. Instead, only the outcome will be published, including any action taken to protect the public, patients or dental professionals. Any restrictions on registration will continue to be added to the online register.

The role of the Interim Orders Committee is to assess serious and immediate risks to patient safety and public confidence in the profession. It does not determine the facts of a case. When reviewing the policy, we weighed the need to maintain public safety and confidence with the potential impacts on an individual’s health and wellbeing from the publication of untested allegations.  

Our Disclosure and Publication Policy has been updated to reflect the change.  

Long term trends in fitness to practise and record keeping 

The success of the initial inquires pilot relies on the assistance of dental professionals, particularly when a request for clinical records is made. Clare Callan, Associate Director, Fitness to Practise, sets out the long view on trends in fitness to practise and explains how the initial inquires pilot, improved local complaint handling and process improvements mean we seeing fewer concerns raised and are closing more cases at the early stages of an investigation.

Shamir Mehta, Senior Clinical Dental Adviser, provides some timely and detailed guidance on dental record keeping in his blogpost, which explains what is professional, reasonable and in the interest of patients, and the role of clinical advisers play in fitness to practise.  

Working patterns data update 

On 1 July, we published a revised aggregated data report for the dentists’ working patterns data, after a further data cleansing exercise.

This is our latest publication as part of its commitment to provide vital working patterns data on the UK’s dental professionals. Find out more about dentists’ working patterns on our website. 

New to UK dental practice programme ends its first year

We started a new programme of webinars last year with the aim of introducing new overseas-qualified dental professionals to practising dentistry in the UK. We have had hundreds of people join one of the three sessions we’ve held, with the support of experienced dental professionals who have helped us to deliver the programme.  

We want to thank all those who have taken part, and let you know that we will be starting this annual programme again soon. If you qualified outside the UK and registered between August 2023 and July this year, you will receive an invitation to join a session in August.  

Our welcome to UK dental practice video for new starters can be found online. 

Early career dental professionals’ views of the GDC – new research

We have published the findings of a comprehensive research study aimed at understanding the experiences, perceptions and attitudes of early career dental professionals towards the GDC.

The survey of 1,479 early career dental professionals revealed varying perceptions of the GDC among dental professionals.

The research shows that, overall, most early career dental professionals hold either a positive (44%) or neutral (30%) perception of the GDC, with dental care professionals viewing the GDC more favourably than dentists.

The research also shows that over time, dental professionals' perceptions of the GDC are more informed by their colleagues’ views rather than their own experiences of the GDC, with individuals registered with the GDC for a longer period typically less positive in their perceptions.

However, perceptions do vary between the different professional groups. Dental nurses had the highest positive perceptions, with 59% viewing the GDC favourably. In contrast, dentists had the lowest positive perceptions at 22%. Additionally, dentists had the highest negative perceptions, with 52% of respondents expressing unfavourable views, significantly more than any other group. 

You can read the highlights or the full report on our website.