Latest Updates from the GDC

View from the Chair: January 2024   

Our Chair, Lord Toby Harris, welcomes in 2024 with a look at GDC priorities over the coming months, including our conversations on new ways to support professionalism and how you can get involved in shaping regulation, in his January blog post.

PSA review of our performance for 2022/23  

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) review of our performance for 2022/23 has concluded we met 16 of the 18 Standards of Good Regulation. The PSA found that Standards 11 and 15 were not met, specifically the parts of those standards relating to the respective timely resolution of registration and fitness to practise cases. 

There was positive recognition for our engagement with stakeholders and response to the backlog of applications from overseas dental professionals. We tripled the number of places for Part 1 of the Overseas Registration Exam last year and have increased the number of Part 2 sittings from three to four in 2024. 

The full report is available on the PSA’s website. 

What encourages dental nurses to remain within the dental sector?  

There are currently over 61,000 dental nurses on the Register. However, the perceived drop in the number of dental nurses over recent years has been termed a ‘recruitment crisis’, and there are many stakeholders who want to understand the drivers for dental nurses considering leaving the profession. 

Find out more in the blog post from Debbie Reed, an experienced researcher and academic, who explains the key findings from the latest Dental Nurse Retention Survey. 

Council Member recruitment: the important role lay members play in helping shape how the profession is regulated 

We are currently recruiting a new lay member to join our Council. Find out more about the important role lay Council members play in a blog post from Ilona Blue, who joined in 2022. 

The application process closes at noon on Friday 2 February. If you know anyone who may be interested, they can find out more about the role on our recruitment partner’s website

Changes to rules for international registration 

Changes to the rules for the registration of internationally qualified dental professionals will come into effect on 9 March 2024. The rules, now made by our Council, provide the basis for the introduction of an Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) application processing fee and to increase examination fees to ensure costs are recovered and fees are allocated fairly.  

These initial changes mean that we can now take further steps to deliver additional ORE capacity while we modernise the international registration framework.

Find out more about the outcomes of this consultation on our website. 

Updated guidance on indemnity and insurance published   

We have published the outcome report to our consultation on updating the Guidance on Indemnity and Insurance, along with the revised guidance that will come into effect from 12 February 2024.

We encourage dental professionals to familiarise themselves with the updated guidance as it now provides more information to better support them to meet their responsibilities towards patients, including information on the additional benefits to consider when choosing cover, such as wellbeing support. 

Although the updated guidance does not introduce any new requirements for dental professionals, it clarifies the requirements around holding cover that will compensate patients who have suffered harm, in the event of a successful claim. 

We received a good number of responses to our consultation with most welcoming the proposed changes to the guidance. We also received much valuable feedback and suggestions for improvements, all of which has helped shape the finalised guidance. 

Sign up to the January event on Exploring Professionalism  

We are continuing with our online events where we are exploring new ways of setting standards and guidance for the dental team. The next event will be held on Tuesday 16 January from 18:30-20:30 and builds on the series of events we held in the Autumn.

Representatives from a variety of organisations from the dental sector will join us to discuss:

  • what we have heard from dental professionals and other stakeholders so far
  • what the role of the GDC and other organisations is in providing guidance for dental professionals  
  • what support is needed from the GDC and others before any changes are made to the current model of standards and guidance.

Everyone joining the events will have opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback.

Sign up to the next event before places run out. 

Our future regulatory framework starts to take shape 

Government proposals to provide the General Medical Council with the necessary powers to regulate aesthesia associates and physician associates have been presented to parliament, following a public consultation held this year. The proposals were presented as a template for future reform for all healthcare professional regulators, including the GDC.  

The template for reform is now starting to take shape, but more work is needed to develop a framework that will work for all healthcare professional regulators, and the timetable for future reforms remains uncertain following this round of consultation.  

Legislative reform is needed to deliver our functions more effectively and with greater efficiency, and we will continue to press for regulatory reform to accelerate with the support of our stakeholders. In the meantime, we will continue to make improvements where we can within our legislative constraints. 

Find out more about regulatory reform on our website. 

Guidance for the Interim Orders Committee updates published

We have now published updated guidance for the Interim Orders Committee, part of the independent Dental Professionals Hearings Service. The Interim Orders Committee is responsible for considering and controlling immediate and serious risks to public safety and confidence. The updates follow a public consultation held at the start of the year.  

The changes promote consistency in the approach to immediate risks and support decision-making that is proportionate and appropriate to the risks posed. The updates include giving additional weight to the seriousness of concerns relating to sexual assault, harassment and violence and providing further guidance on adjournments and postponements.

You will find the updated guidance and conditions bank for the Interim Orders Committee and glossary of terms on the Dental Professional Hearings Service website.