The General Dental Council (GDC), published Shifting the balance: The GDC’s response to your views and next steps today, marking a significant milestone in its strategy to reform dental regulation.

The consultation, Shifting the balance: a better, fairer system of dental regulation, was launched in January this year to encourage debate and invite views on the GDC’s proposals for reforming dental regulation, without the need for legislative change.

A total of 86 responses were received from individual practitioners, professional associations and partners. The regulator gained broad support for the proposals it set out with some key respondents expressing their interest in shaping how the reforms are taken forward.

Alongside this work, the GDC developed a wider understanding from stakeholder round tables in each of the nations, discussions at conferences, face-to-face meetings and debate with dental professionals and partners via trade press and social media, all of which providing valuable insight for moving forward with the vision, as set out in Shifting the balance.

The proposals are ambitious and will take time to be fully implemented. However, work is well underway on several key areas, including:

  • A comprehensive review of Fitness to Practise processes
  • Developing a clearer understanding of what constitutes ‘seriousness’
  • improving how complaints are handled locally
  • The enhanced sharing of learning outcomes for upstream gains.

This work will continue into 2018.

Ian Brack, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GDC, said: 'We’re very grateful for the input and feedback we have received in relation to Shifting the balance. Several respondents saw the proposals as ambitious. We agree: for this ambition to be realised, close collaboration with dental professionals and wider stakeholders across the sector will be needed and we look forward to undertaking that shared task in the coming months.'

One key way the GDC sees this collaboration working in practice is through the setting up of a network of leaders from across the dental sector.

The regulator says it cannot deliver the vision for a better, fairer and more proportionate system of dental regulation alone which is why it is calling for broad involvement form the sector to help implement the reforms for the benefit of patients and the industry as a whole.