The General Dental Council (GDC) has launched a pilot that will test a change to the initial stages of its fitness to practise processes “to improve proportionality and timeliness”.  Process changes are being made to the way investigations are carried out in certain cases, to help the GDC “resolve issues faster, while continuing to effectively maintain public safety and confidence in the dental profession.”

Writing on its website, the GDC wrote:

“We want to ensure matters that do not pose a risk to public safety or confidence are concluded as quickly as possible. The change in process being piloted will help ensure we are fully informed of all relevant facts as early as possible, ensuring that only issues amounting to a fitness to practise concern are fully investigated.”

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The GDC continued:
“Our current legislative framework effectively requires all matters relating to the clinical practice of a dental professional to be referred from the initial assessment stage to assessment for an investigation. Considerable effort and resources are then allocated to gathering information, whether or not it is required, to reach a decision. “The change being piloted is designed to limit the information gathered to what is specifically required in each case. That will normally be the patient’s clinical records in these types of cases. The aim is to reduce the time it takes to conclude low level issues. The process will rely on being able to access records quickly, so the cooperation of dental professionals and their representatives is needed if the pilot is to succeed. “The new pilot reflects our desire to make improvements to the fitness to practise process where we can, ahead of any potential regulatory reform. It is also hoped that improved timeliness and proportionality will reduce the impact of fitness to practise investigations on the health and wellbeing of participants.”
The pilot will run for six months starting on 4 September. It will be applied initially to single patient clinical practice cases, where the dental professional involved has no previous fitness to practise concerns, but may be expanded during the pilot.

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