The General Dental Council (GDC) has registered its disappointment at the Queen’s Speech, as it believes there is a very real and pressing need to reform the legislation that governs health professional regulation. The speech did not discuss a bill the GDC was hoping would be introduced to parliament soon.
The bill in question would reform the health regulation system in the UK, something the government should, in theory, be keen to do. The coalition pledged to legislate in this area at the earliest opportunity, but has so far not shown any signs of doing so.
Patient protection is at the forefront of the drafted bill, along with a pledge to reduce the GDC’s costs. It would speed up the process of patients making complaints, meaning their concerns can be addressed sooner; especially if there is an issue with a professional not being fit to practice dentistry.
It is thought that, as the bill was not brought up during the Queen’s Speech, it will not be introduced to Parliament until after the election. Even then, there is a significant chance it will not be dealt with at all; harming the dental profession by delaying much-needed reform of the regulation system.
“The absence of a Bill in today’s Queen’s Speech, which would enable changes that are critical to patient protection, is extremely disappointing,” said Evlynne Gilvarry, chief executive and registrar of the GDC.
“The government has known for years that we need legislation to improve patient safety and avoid increasing costs to professionals. We urge the government to act swiftly now by introducing a Section 60 Order to effect the most urgent changes so that the GDC can continue to carry out its duties effectively to protect patients.”
Dental patient complaints are rising and the GDC are keen to properly regulate the industry as quickly as possible. However, if important pieces of legislation keep getting pushed to one side and ignored by the government it will make the organisation’s job harder, and cost them much-needed money.