Latest updates from the GDC

View from the GDC Chair 

Our Chair highlights the publication of our new corporate strategy in his latest blog post. Preparations for forthcoming consultations on the guidance we provide for the dental team, starting with Scope of Practice and indemnity arrangements, are covered, as is the latest round of Council recruitment.

Join the GDC’s Council 

We are recruiting new registrant Council Members.

There are two posts, both for registered dental professionals. For the first role we’re looking for applicants with experience of monitoring financial statements and organisational reporting, together with an understanding of risk management.

For the second role, we particularly want to encourage applications from dental care professionals (DCPs). You don’t need to have non-executive experience, but you should be enthusiastic about developing in that area, and be able to bring an understanding of the issues facing the profession. You can find out more about the role, and what you might gain from the experience in this blog post by Caroline Logan, one of our current Council Members and a registered dental technician.   

Applications close on Friday 17 February. 

Our Corporate Strategy 2023-2025 now published   

We invited views on our proposed strategic plans last year, and have now published our Corporate Strategy 2023-2025 alongside the results of our consultation. Our role in public protection remains unchanged, while our plan recognises that we need to modernise, and improve our performance in some areas, particularly international registration and fitness to practise. 

We will continue to press for the opportunities that legislative reform may bring, but it cannot be guaranteed and will not resolve all existing issues. Therefore we will drive improvements within our current constraints while supporting and empowering the dental team to deliver safe and effective dental care to high standards of professionalism.

We invited our stakeholders to help us develop our strategic aims and priorities from July to September 2022 and would like to thank those who took the time to provide comments. We received three times the number of responses we normally receive for similar exercises.  

The feedback received has improved our understanding of the current pressures dental professionals are facing, and the difficulties people are experiencing in accessing NHS dental care. Stakeholders also highlighted the need to clarify our role and strategic aims in some areas.

We have made some small, but important changes to our strategy to better describe the vital role that dental professionals play in securing patient safety, amongst other updates to make our intentions more explicit. Our strategy recognises the significant challenges the sector is facing. Therefore over the planning period, we will use our insights and unique position as the UK regulator of the whole dental team to highlight risks affecting public safety and wellbeing. We will work with the right parts of the sector to respond to those challenges.

We announced in October last year that 2023 ARF levels would be maintained at close to, or at 2022 levels, lower than what was thought necessary when our consultation was launched. The ARF may need to be reviewed again in 2023 and 2024, in light of the ongoing inflationary pressures and economic volatility. Any increase will be at a most in line with the rate of inflation at the time, unless further exceptional circumstances arise.

You can find out more about our role in patient safety and public confidence and our current and future strategic priorities for the next three years on our website.  

Dentists on the register following annual renewal 

The number of dentists on the register has increased slightly when compared to the average over the previous four years. At the conclusion of the renewal process, there were 43,130 dentists on the register representing a 2.2% increase from the previous year.

This is the first increase of this size seen for some time, but single year data does not establish a trend, so drawing conclusions about whether this is the beginning of a pattern should be avoided.  

Find out further about the renewal figures for dentists on our website.  

Dual registration requirements for OMFS and other healthcare professionals 

You can find a detailed explanation of when oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMFSs) who are registered with the General Medical Council also need to be registered with the GDC.  

Our position statement will also be relevant to some other regulated healthcare professionals, specifically those with roles that may include aspects of dentistry, and who are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.  

Read the full position statement on our website.    

Registration application fee changes for 2023 

Key to our role in patient safety and public confidence is ensuring those we register have the necessary skills, qualifications and characteristics. Thousands of dental professionals join our register each year for the first time, and pay a one-off fee to cover the costs.  

Our registration application fees were uplifted at the start of this year in line with our commitment to ensuring costs are allocated, as far as possible, where they fall and to avoid the costs being met by those already on the register.

Find out more about registration application fee changes.  

New and updated NHS England guidance

NHS England has issued new guidance on Building dental teams: supporting the use of skill mix in NHS general dental practice, as explained by the Deputy Chief Dental Officer England and Dental Partner, Jason Wong, in his blog post, Skill mix in dentistry – the next steps in a team sport. Details of FP17 changes are provided.  

The Clinical Standard for Urgent Dental Care was also updated in January.  

NHS England has also provided details on commissioning arrangements for dental services as we move to Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) in England. Further information on the delegation of primary care dental services, the contractual notice for secondary care dental services, and the primary care assurance framework for ICB commissioners have now been published.   

Fellowship applications closing soon

Applications to the Chief Dental Officer’s (England) Clinical Fellow Scheme will be closing on Wednesday 15 February 2023. We will again be supporting this valuable leadership development scheme as a host organisation, with a role within our policy and research team.

Find out more about the fellowship scheme and how to apply on the FMLM website.   

NHS Scotland tackling poor access with financial support

The Scottish Government has provided details of the financial support available to those who want to provide NHS dental services in areas where access is poor. It includes details of the recruitment and retention allowances available for working in rural and remote areas. 

Support is available for dentists who want to:

  • Establish a new NHS dental practice.

Expand or purchase an existing NHS dental practice.