BDA response to GDC chair’s Malcolm Pendlebury Lecture

The BDA has closely examined the contents of Bill Moyes’ address to the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) at its Malcolm Pendlebury lecture on 12 June.

We believe that the content of Mr Moyes’ speech is significant and that it may herald the intention of the General Dental Council (GDC) to substantially broaden its areas of interest and operation. Such a move has the potential to distract from the real work of the GDC and to duplicate the activities of other bodies properly charged with those responsibilities. It could also add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy on to already hard-pressed practitioners. Accordingly, we would encourage all dental registrants to read the transcript to form their own view.

The GDC’s difficulties in delivering on its current workload have been well-documented. Adding to that workload is only likely to exacerbate those difficulties. The GDC’s real priority should be to address how it manages its core function of protecting patients before extending into areas that are not its responsibility.

Both the GDC’s present activity and any additional roles it may wish to undertake are funded entirely by the fees it receives from registrants. This includes administering the CPD scheme which is under review with changes to be announced in the near future. As we have said before, these changes should not result in any further escalation of registrants’ fees.

In light of spiralling annual retention fees we believe that it is important for the GDC to demonstrate its competence and ability to deal with existing work demands before taking on more. Mr Moyes’ prediction that the fees are likely to go up significantly is worrying. This seems somewhat premature as the GDC has not yet launched its consultation, expected in the autumn, on the annual level of fees registrants should pay. It is our belief that this should take into account the views of the very people who will be most affected before making such announcements.

We will be asking for meetings with the senior team at the GDC to better understand its intentions and timeframes. When we have had those conversations we will make a more comprehensive statement.