The General Dental Council (GDC) is changing the way dental professionals are supported in England. The changes will affect those with conditions imposed on their practice and those who have agreed to undertakings, as a result of a fitness to practise investigation.

John Cullinane, GDC Executive Director, Fitness to Practise said:

“Our aim is to give flexibility and the appropriate support to ensure that professionals are able to return to practise as soon as they can, having completed their development requirements.”

Dental professionals working in England, who have had conditions imposed or agreed to undertakings, have, until now, been referred to one of the Health Education England (HEE) deaneries and allocated an adviser to support them with their additional development needs. We refer around four professionals a month to HEE. Development support is provided at a cost of around £850 (an initial assessment and planning meeting, plus four additional meetings) with the costs funded by the dental professional concerned.

This process is about to change. HEE has written to inform us that it will not be taking new referrals for support to dental professionals from 30 September, as a result of a recent review of postgraduate services. We’re now putting in place new development support pathway for dental professionals in England, which will take effect from 1 October 2021. Existing arrangements will continue in all other parts of the UK.

Dental professionals will now be in control of finding and selecting their own development adviser, subject to minimum requirements and final approval from the GDC. They will be asked to work with their development adviser on a Personal Professional Development Plan, which will be reviewed and reported on regularly. Dental professionals will continue to fund development support. Fees charged or daily rates will be a matter to be agreed between individuals.

John Cullinane said:

“We will be keeping the process and supporting documents under review for the next six months, and would like to encourage all stakeholders and dental professionals to raise any issues with us as soon as they arise. I’d also like to thank those who have worked with us to make these important updates. “

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