The General Dental Council (GDC) has published the findings of a research study “aimed at understanding the experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of early career dental professionals towards their regulatory body.”

The research, commissioned by the GDC and conducted independently by SQW, shows that most early career dental professionals hold either a positive (44%) or neutral (30%) perception of the GDC, with dental care professionals viewing the GDC more favourably than dentists.

The survey of 1,479 early career dental professionals revealed varying perceptions of the GDC among different dental professions.

Some of the key findings from the research include:

  • 74% of early career dental professionals hold either a positive (44%) or neutral (30%) perception of the GDC.
  • Perceptions vary between dental professions, with most dental nurses holding positive views of the GDC and most dentists holding negative views.
  • Dentists hold the highest negative perceptions, with 52% of respondents expressing unfavourable views, significantly more than any other group.
  • Over time, dental professionals’ perceptions of the GDC are more informed by their colleagues’ views than by their own experiences of the GDC.

  • On professional practice, the study found that GDC’s regulatory activities had a positive impact on early career dental professionals, with just under two-thirds reporting a positive impact on their practice (43% positive and 21% very positive). However, this also varied by profession. Of the four largest registrant groups, over 70% of dental nurses, therapists, and hygienists reported a positive or very positive impact, while only 37% of dentists expressed this sentiment.
  • A substantial majority (86%) of early career dental professionals said they felt well-prepared for professional practice when first joining the GDC register, many attributing their readiness to comprehensive education and training. The highest percentages of dental professionals feeling well-prepared for practice upon initial registration were dental nurses (92%), dental therapists (87%) and dental hygienists (86%). The percentage of dentists feeling the same was slightly lower (74%).
UK Fitness to Practise News

Stefan Czerniawski, GDC Executive Director, Strategy, said:

“It’s important for all dental professionals to understand and have confidence in the regulatory system in which they work – and even more so for people in the early years of their career. That understanding helps dental professionals be confident in their own practice and underpins patients’ confidence in the care they receive.

“This research makes clear that there is still more to do to ensure that the regulatory system is transparent and effective and is seen positively by the dental professionals we regulate. The insights it provides will be invaluable in helping us do that more effectively.”

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