Article Review: Insights from GDC fitness to practice concerns

Article Review: Insights from GDC fitness to practice concerns

Overview

As part of the Dentist Act 1984 ,GDC publishes their fitness to practice (FTP) data yearly. The aim of the report is to promote transparency in their complaints handling system and to help understand the types of concerns that appear in FTP cases. By doing so they aim to reduce the costs and numbers of concerns raised by focusing on prevention rather than enforcement. 
 
Summary: 
 
The numbers of concerns raised with the GDC have been dropping year on year since 2015. This does not mean that the number of concerns are generally decreasing. In fact, the NHS received on average a 4% year on year increase in the number of complaints between 2016-18. 
 
In 2019 there were a total of 1293 concerns raised. 71% met the initial assessment criteria to be investigated further. 15% of the total number of concerns were escalated through the GDC FTP process and referred to the Practice Committee. 20% of those referred to the Practice Committee were erased from the register and 16% suspended with immediate effect. 
 
An understanding of the concerns:
 
45% of concerns raised to the GDC took longer than 6 months to resolve.  
 
Geographic representation:
 
Registrants from London, South East and North West were the top 3 regions which has concerns raised.  
 
Themes of concerns:
 
Clinical treatment: This was the most featured theme and included poor clinical competence and failure to give diagnosis or failure to treat. 
 
Conduct and behaviour: This was the next most common theme and included issues around ethics and fraudulent behaviour or breaking patients confidentiality. 
 
Cost of Treatment: FTP examples included dentist charging for unnecessary treatment, or failure to highlight the warranty period for treatment. 
 
Communication: Failing to notify the patient of complications of treatment or notifying them of mistakes 

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