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Great News for the Dental Profession!

The GDC are extending changes to fitness to practice processes.


In September 2023, the General Dental Council (GDC) announced the scope of its pilot to ‘improve proportionality and timeliness’ of fitness to practise processes. The GDC has announced that they intend to extend this pilot beyond the April 2024 deadline to October 2024.


The changes include controls on the amount of evidence the GDC collect during investigations with intentions to speed up the process of investigating and reaching a conclusion on low-level cases. The changes will also focus on registrants who have suffered the regulator’s investigations on concerns raised about them for over 12 months. 


The GDC claims to have experienced positive results from the pilot, seeing significant reductions in the time it takes to conclude a case. However, it remains to be seen whether the effects of this pilot have been felt across all types of cases.


Out of the 127 cases opened under the pilot, only 8 had been referred to the Case Examiners and the remainder closed with an average process time of 12 weeks and a general aim to assess all cases within 30 weeks.


Theresa Thorp, Executive Director for regulation stated ‘We are committed to improving our processes within the current legislation and we hope that, by working with others, we can continue to see improvements in timeliness without affecting the quality of investigation outcomes.’


Theresa Thorp also goes on to state ‘the 30-week target the GDC has set for these cases to be assessed is far too long.’ However, registrants have been subject to investigations that have lasted much longer than this with some cases taking years to conclude.


The GDC’s realisation of the positive effects the pilot has had on processes, cases and the health and well-being of registrants is a step in the right direction. We can hopefully expect in the future an increase in cases that are dismissed on the grounds of proportionality and lack of severity. However, we still see evidence of cases launched by the GDC that do not amount to a fitness to practise concern.


If you have an ongoing GDC matter but have not contacted your indemnity insurers, or do not have the correct cover in place, contact our regulatory team. Here at Buxton Coates, we provide full support to our clients providing a human approach to assist you in navigating through GDC proceedings.

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