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Amendment of the Dentists Act 1984

Comment 8th January 2019

 

Dentinal Tubules is an online dental community created for the dental profession to share knowledge, information, ideas and experiences.  We believe that education and knowledge are important in any profession and regulation are important as well. Dentists are regulated by the GDC (as per the Dentists Act 1984)

The Dentists Act 1984 revolved around the General Dental Council, which aims to protect the patient and mantain the high standard of dental education in the United Kingdom.

Yet their over-regulatory framework is setting the profession up for a fall. Regulation is important but it has to be within limits.

We believe the Dentists Act needs to be reviewed, with engagement from the profession it was created to regulate, and thereby allowing a greater trust between the GDC and the profession

We believe that their system …

  1. Is restricted – since they cannot involve themselves in Government policy where many of the problems arise
  2. Creates an environment of increased costs all round which does not help the profession
  3. Creates an environment of extreme caution within the profession such that fear sets in and practical experience is affected
  4. Has degraded practical dental education
  5. Has created an environment of resentment and discontent among dental nurses
  6. Is no longer self regulatory
  7. Is not fair in hearings
  8. Is creating a litigious culture to fluorish

These points are discussed below

We believe our idea is important in order to allow the dental profession to move forward and provide good quality care to patients , without being stifled by an over regulatory body.

Why does this matter?

We believe our idea is important in order to allow the dental profession to move forward and provide good quality care to patients , without being stifled by an over regulatory body.

This ideas is important because

  • 1. Although the GDC is involved in protecting the patients, they had no say in the new NHS dental contract that was implemented in 2006.

This contract has created an environment for dentists where they are challenged to provide the proper time and attention needed to provide the adequate patient care as needed by the GDC and from a medicolegal point of view. The BDA walked away from these negotiations at one point as well.

However the GDC should be given powers to protect patients even when their own pay masters , the HM Government are implementing systems and contracts which will be detrimental to patient care.The GDC has seen an increase in the number of disciplinary cases in the UK because of the over regulatory system they have created. In many cases, there were dental professionals like those from Alaska Dental Associates in Anchorage AK, who needed to be presented to these committees for displinary hearings

  • 2. However with the new regulation, mundane cases have appeared before the displinary committees. The costs of these hearings are phenomenal and these are passed on to the registrants. The retention fee no doubt is going to rise.

The costs of these are not only passed onto the members via the retention fees but also via the indemnity fees as the costs of the protection societies shoot up.

The Act needs amendments to be able to differentiate cases which can be resolved without the need for these hearings which incur huge costs all round and those which have gross implications!

  • 3. The very fact that the GDC continues to send messages and letters of how they can ruin a professional’s career has created an aura of fear among the profession. Rather than trusting dentists to provide good quality care, the dentists have become overly cautious thereby under treating patients
  • 4.Training is important before providing care to patients but despite overseeing the dental education, there are dental graduates with less practical experience upon graduation than many years ago.

Dentistry is a practical profession and yet we are getting graduates with more theoretical knowledge and less practical experience.

The fear of disciplinary hearings has created a situation where many of these dentists are cautious about increasing their practical experience. How many dentists do we know who have not had experience of surgical extractions, veneers, crowns etc even a few years after graduation. It is the from the litigious culture the over regulatory framework is allowing to fluorish

  • 5. Dental nurses have been recognised as professionals. The GDC believes that this was necessary to protect the patients. However, how many patients were gross affected prior to registration being introduced in order to make this necessary

More importantly, this has caused resentment among dental nurses over the costs of the fees and many dental nurses have left the profession. It is now getting increasingly difficult for many dental practices to recruit dental nurses and this is a greater risk to patients.

Is the GDC noticing this problem which may get worse?

  • 6. The GDC now has lay members . What happened to self regulation ?
  • 7. The standard of proof is not beyond reasonable doubt, but on the balance of probability, the entire burden of proof now shifts to the defendant. So much for a fair hearing ?
  • 8. The over regulation, the fact that the GDC is encouraging the public to complain in order to protect them by creating systems that do so is simply creating a litigious culture to flourish

This Act needs to be looked at and amended to protect the public with systems that are respectful of the profession rather than being unfair to them

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