General Dental Council survey dental professionals

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A recent survey has shown a high degree of dissatisfaction with the General Dental Council among dental professionals. (Image: Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Wed. 8. December 2021

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LONDON, UK: In 2020, UK regulator the General Dental Council (GDC) commissioned a survey by DJS Research to identify and better understand the perceptions and communication preferences of GDC members. Focusing on the regulator’s core functions and performance, the survey highlighted several areas of dissatisfaction.

According to the survey, overall perceptions of the GDC were 58% negative to 21% positive, highlighting a decrease in approval since the last assessment done in 2018. This was mainly driven by the response to COVID-19, ongoing dissatisfaction with fitness to practise processes and communications, and decisions about fees.

In a press release, GDC Chief Executive and Registrar Ian Brack said, “The findings in this report illustrate some of the frustrations felt in the sector and where we can direct our efforts. The pandemic has thrown up new challenges for us all and exposed some historic ones, not least the need for those we regulate to understand our role and our shared responsibilities in ensuring patients are protected, and public confidence is maintained.”

In the report, the lack of universal understanding about the GDC’s responsibilities as a regulator was evident from the high number of dental professionals (48%) who believed that the regulator is responsible for setting dentistry’s clinical standards.

Executive Director of Strategy at the GDC Stefan Czerniawski said in a letter responding to the survey results: “We will be working on building trust and credibility amongst the professionals and students we regulate, by being responsive to what we’ve been told. We hope our stakeholders will respond too. Those relationships become even more important as we continue developing our upstream agenda, moving towards a regulatory system that is increasingly based on principles rather than prescriptive standards, and preparing to take advantage of the opportunities created by regulatory reform.”

While many areas need to be worked on, the survey also showed that views of the GDC did improve slightly among dental students and stakeholder representatives. However, Brack was adamant that things needed to change, commenting: “I am accountable for performance of the GDC and very clear about what has not gone well and what we’re doing about it.”

The complete report can be accessed here.

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