The Conference of Local Dental Committees (LDCs) got off to a bad start for the General Dental Council (GDC), with the very first motion, which was passed overwhelmingly, calling for ‘the immediate resignation of the chair of the GDC’.
Following this Director of Strategy at the General Dental Council, Matthew Hill, gave his presentation on the second day of the conference. He endeavoured to be honest about the problems that the council had been facing over the past three years and said they were committed to changing and were listening. He said:
“The GDC door is well and truly open,”
Hill became a part of the GDC under 12 months ago and claimed that the GDC received a high number of complaints in 2013, which he said they were not prepared for, resulting in the rise in the annual retention fee. He continued that although the complaints have been dealt with more needed to be done.
Hill knew that the GDC would be publishing a consultation paper illustrating their plan on the way forward in its regulation and he hoped that LDCs would include themselves in this process. He explained:
“Patient and public protection lies at the heart of what we do”
“Good regulation should be about promoting positive behaviours,”
Hill’s opinion on healthcare regulation was that it is currently too focused on rule making and punishing those who break them. Leading him to feel that healthcare regulation needs to be addressed, highlighting that the legislation regarding the GDC was outdated and focused on sanctions as opposed to learning. The GDC is keen to see local resolution wherever it can.
Hill was also questioned on the press advertisement asking patients to take their complaints to the Dental Complaints Service. He said the advert was ‘a bit crass’, however, also mentioned that a more reasonable approach to regulation meant that different methods to FtP (Fitness to Practice) had to be found.
Many in attendance were happy with Hills words and presentation after believing that there might not be the mentality for change. However, now the new management at the GDC should be given a chance to prove themselves and show what they can do.