General Dental Council chair respond to PSA report that criticised the regulator for its performance on registrations.

In December, we reported that the General Dental Council has not met all the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) Standards of Good Regulation.  The PSA commented in its report:

“In this review period, we saw an increase in the time the GDC is taking to process registration applications from both UK and international graduates and appeals. Some factors which have contributed to that increase are outside the GDC’s direct control, and the GDC has put in place measures to improve its performance. However, the GDC is still taking too long to process registration applications…””

“focused on performance”

Lord Toby Harris, GDC chair, in his first blog post for 2023, said:

“The Chief Executive agrees with the PSA’s assessment of performance in this review period. These are particular areas of concern for those of us on the Council and the Executive Team too. We recognise that our processing of registration applications has not been quick enough. These delays have been caused primarily by team capacity issues resulting from staff recruitment and retention challenges.”

In a different blog post, Gurvinder Soomal, GDC Chief Operating Officer, said that the regulator had “been experiencing a sustained higher than usual workload across our UK routes to registration” and that “recruitment challenges impacted processing times”.

He continued by saying that incomplete and incorrect DCP applications has impacted on processing times, saying:

Another area that has had a significant impact on our ability to process new applications has been the quality of applications we have received, particularly from dental nurses. During 2022 we received larger numbers of new UK DCP applications that were incomplete or incorrect.

For many applications, we had to ask for missing information such as qualification certificates and supporting documentation to be sent to us. This resulted in delays processing them, with extra time and effort required to process these applications.

Taking steps to improve performance

Mr Soomal said that the GDC has successfully filled all its vacancies, which contributed to the GDC’s difficulties with processing registrations.  In addition, internal secondments using “experienced staff members”, overtime and a “preventative step” of accepting new UK dentist applications all contributed to the GDC’s efforts to addressing delays in registrations.

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