The GDC Process – How Complaints Are Handled

The General Dental Council, or GDC, is responsible for the registration of professionals in the dental profession. This includes dentists, dental therapists, dental technicians, orthodontic therapists, dental nurses, and even dental hygienists in the UK.

Should a complaint be made against a dental professional for any reason, this shall be referred to the GDC. the institution is obliged to investigate as per the 1984 Dentists Act, designed to help protect the welfare of the public.

A complaint is defined as something that has transpired to an individual, likely an event that has been deemed unsatisfactory and unacceptable based on their expectations. It can either be justifiable or not, but it should solely be made against the treatment, quality of service, or professional.

If you find yourself suffering due to poor dental practices or mistakes, know that the General Dental Council is ready to assist. However, it’s best to first understand the complaints process before proceeding with filing a complaint:

Understanding the Complaints Process

When a complaint has been filed with the GDC, the request will be first handled by a triaging system. This is where the sorting happens, where the system ensures that matters not falling under the jurisdiction of the institution are kept separate from the rest. Certain matters are graver than others, which prompts the GDC to take action.

Once the complaints have thoroughly been assessed, complaints will be passed on to the casework team for investigation. Should the complaint end up being about a clinical matter, they are to seek the advice of a clinician for better processing. Once settled, the case may end up being referred to the Investigating Committee. Here, the dental professional will be asked to respond to the allegations brought on by the caseworker. They will then meet in private to further discuss the complaint, but keep in mind that the Investigating Committee will only be expected to follow the actions below:

  • Take no action
  • Issue a letter of advice or warning to the dental professional, which includes matters relating to their future conduct and practice
  • Adjourn the case for the dental professional in question for any enquiries
  • Refer the case to a Practice Committee, where the case will be further investigated in terms of health, conduct, and performance

The Bottom Line

As with all governing bodies, the General Dental Council can be flawed. Certain processes may end up being overlooked, making it difficult to gain the justice you deserve. However, they exist for a reason—they thoroughly ponder through each complaint, in the hope of protecting the public in the best possible way. Simply put, complaints are met with the utmost regard.

For dental professionals, it’s important to always find ways to reduce the risks of going through a complaint. You need to be aware of current guidelines pertaining to your practice. Any causes of deviation from the guidelines must be recorded and accordingly, which ensures that you remain protected from the potential complaint.

It’s also important to partake in regular audits of the practice, as this enables you to implement changes that should be deemed necessary. In the end, it’s all about improving and learning from your errors.

If you’re on the hunt for more legal help, however, entrust in the leading UK law firm. Goodman Grant Solicitors provides unparalleled services in the dental field, where lawyers are committed to helping dental professionals protect their practices. Book a consultation today to learn more.

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