The majority of dental professionals view the GDC negatively, with a significant increase in dissatisfaction since 2018.
This is according to a new report into stakeholder perceptions of the regulator.
GDC perceptions were more negative (58%) than positive (21%), with dental professionals being the most negative (65%) and students the most positive (50%).
Increase in negative views
Respondents were asked to select up to three words from a set list that they associated with the GDC. Findings include:
- ‘Unrepresentative’ – 48%
- ‘Fear’ – 40%
- ‘Aggressive’ – 30%.
Students were more likely to link positive words with the GDC. For example 39% listed ‘helpful’ and 42% said ‘supportive’. These stood at 15% and 13% for dental professionals respectively.
Significantly, negative perceptions have soared since 2018. Those who viewed the GDC as ‘unrepresentative’ now stands at 48% – an increase of 17% in just three years.
Three in five dental (60%) professionals also believe the GDC overly penalises practice members, with dental therapists holding the highest level of agreement (67%).
Some felt that the GDC should offer more support to those under investigation. They argued for emphasis to be placed on improving practice rather than removal from the register.
Around half of all respondents agreed that the GDC is ‘professional’, with 43% also labelling it as ‘relevant’.
GDC chief executive and registrar, Ian Brack, said he is keen to introduce reforms to improve the system for all involved.
‘The findings in this report illustrate some of the frustrations felt in the sector and where we can direct our efforts,’ he said.
‘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.
‘I am accountable for performance of the GDC and [it is] very clear about what has not gone well and what we’re doing about it.
‘Without regulatory reform, our ability to significantly improve the fitness to practise process is largely limited to making marginal operational improvements and applying more resource to an inefficient system.
‘Nevertheless, I am determined that we will make the improvements we can.’
You can also read the full report here.
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