Latest updates from the GDC

View from the Chair

Our Chair, Lord Harris, takes a look at the results of this year’s annual renewal of dental care professionals in his latest blog post, and looks toward the engagement with the professions and stakeholders in the Autumn. We will be asking for views on the best way to provide standards and guidance in September, and bringing the Dental Leadership Network together in November.  

Sign up to an online event to explore new ways of setting standards and guidance, being held from 21 September to 18 October

Starting this month, we will be holding online events to explore with dental professionals and other stakeholders new ways of setting standards and guidance.

The current Standards for the Dental Team are 10 years old but, before we start updating them, we want to have a conversation with our stakeholders about the best way to provide standards and guidance for the dental team. We want to work with stakeholders to find the right model, pace, information, and support required to do this well – before we take any steps towards it.

The online events will explore:

  • The goals that refreshed or new guidance should achieve.
  • The benefits and challenges of the current Standards of the Dental Team.
  • A potential new model of guidance centred around principles of professionalism.
  • Any other potential alternative models to consider.
  • What would be needed to make sure that moving to any new model would be a success.

The event will be repeated on five dates between 21 September and 18 October to ensure as many people as possible can have access to an event.

Book yourself a place on one of the events on our Eventbrite page.

Piloting a change to the initial stages of our fitness to practise process

Our public protection role includes considering issues raised with us about the practice, health or conduct of dental professionals and deciding what needs to be investigated as a fitness to practise concern. This week we announced we are piloting a change to the way we make our initial inquiries when investigating clinical matters raised by a single patient with the aim of improving proportionality and timeliness.  

We know our investigations can be complex and take a long time and that they can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of those involved, and that lengthy investigations can lead to feelings of mistrust and frustration in the process. We want to ensure that we can conclude cases faster, by being fully informed of all relevant facts as early as possible in the process while continuing to ensure the public is protected.

The pilot will run for six months. Initially it will include all single patient clinical practice issues, where the dental professional has no previous fitness to practise concerns, but the criteria may be expanded. During the pilot, we will be making an early request for specific information to help us make a fully informed decision about the issues raised, normally that will be the patient records.

Find out more about the improvements we are making in fitness to practise in the absence of regulatory reform, and details of how the initial inquires pilot will operate in this new blog post from John Cullinane, Executive Director, Fitness to Practise

International registration consultation closes in September

We are currently consulting on proposed new rules for routes to registration for internationally qualified dentists and dental care professionals. We are also calling for evidence to help inform our future approach to making more effective use of the capacity in the overseas registration exam, and the most appropriate assessment methods for dental care professional applicants.

Please submit your views by 26 September 2023

Consultation on the supply and administration of medicines

The Government opened a consultation on 18 August on proposals to enable dental hygienists and dental therapist to supply and administer medicines under exemptions.  

The Department of Health and Social Care, consulting with the Department of Health (Northern Ireland), wants to work with the sector to improve the use of skills in NHS dentistry to ensure the full dental team can be used to deliver care to patients.

The consultation closes on 15 September 2023.

Total number of registered dental care professionals increases

The number of registered dental care professionals has risen following the recent annual renewal period has risen by more than we have seen in previous years. At the close of the renewal period there were 71,769 dental care professionals on the register, an increase of 2,093 on the equivalent figure for 2022.  

This year, 3,541 people did not renew their registration, which is 4.9% of those who had renewed their registration by 31 July. This compares to an average of 6.4% over the previous four years.

You will find the detailed renewal figures from 2019 to this year on our website.  

New to UK dental practice: programme for international new starters

Next month we will be kicking off a new engagement programme aimed at dental professionals who join our register with qualifications gained outside the UK. We will be inviting newly registered dental professionals to attend an online workshop, starting from October 2023.

The engagement programme aims to help those who are new to UK dental practice to enhance their understanding of:

  • how public safety and confidence is promoted and maintained in the UK
  • how to maintain their UK registration, including keeping skills up to date
  • where to turn for support through an appreciation of the practice environment, including the regulators, organisations and systems that operate in dentistry, NHS governance and structures, and key sources of clinical guidance and resources
  • public and patient expectations in the UK.

We will be inviting those who have joined the register within the last 12 months to join these sessions. The programme has been developed with the assistance of internationally qualified dental professionals, and we would like to thank those who’ve been involved for their help and support.

If you’re new to UK dental practice please keep an eye out for your invitation, or if you’d like to know more about the programme, please get in touch by email.