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BDA raises concerns over GDC

Posted by Allie Wright

The British Dental Association (BDA) has said that it is concerned about the standard of the General Dental Council (GDC) based on the findings of a report into the organisation.

The report, which was conducted by the Professional Standards Authority, makes several criticisms about the way the GDC handled a disciplinary process surrounding the departure of Dr Alison Lockyer.

It investigated concerns raised by Dr Lockyer which raised questions about the organisation’s governance and indicated that the GDC may have been failing in its statutory rights.

Peter Ward, the chief executive of the BDA, said: “This report identifies deeply concerning failings around the departure of Dr Lockyer from her role at the GDC. The mishandling of proceedings that is spelt out in this report is astonishing. For a professional regulator to have made such errors in the handling of proceedings is deeply troubling.”

Mr Ward also stressed the importance of a strong regulator in which patients and practitioners can have confidence. He called for the GDC to alleviate doubts by ensuring that it will achieve the improvements outlined in the PSA report.

However, the GDC said that it welcomed the findings of the report which, it states, rejects allegations that it failed in its statutory duty.

A statement from the dental council said that, while there were weaknesses in the GDC’s governance and fitness to practise processes during 2009 to early 2011, the GDC did not fail patients then, and is on the right track now.

It also said that it had already implemented many of the recommendations for improvement outlined in the PSA report.

Chair Kevin O’Brien said: “We welcome the findings of the PSA’s report and the opportunity to draw a line under this matter. We will review all aspects to ensure we are acting on any lessons to be learnt and we are very pleased that the PSA gives a clear endorsement of reforms we have already introduced.” 

Mr O’Brien also stressed the GDC’s commitment to protecting patients.

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