GDC accountability hearing

28 January, 2015 / infocus
 

The UK Government’s Health Committee has announced it is to hold the first-ever accountability hearing with the General Dental Council on 3 March.

The committee has previously held hearings with the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Care Quality Commission but this is the first time the GDC has been called to account.

Members of the cross-party committee, which will convene on Tuesday 3 March at 2.30pm, include former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston, now Tory MP for South Devon.

Westminster is waking up to the fact that Britain’s most expensive healthcare regulator is also the least efficient…

Mick Armstrong, the chair of the BDA's Principal Executive Committe

And, while there is no formal call for evidence, the committee will accept written submissions on the work of the GDC ahead of the session. Evidence must be submitted on the Health Committee’s website with a deadline of Thursday 19 February at 5pm.

The committee is expected to release its report within a week of the hearing with any issues highlighted for further investigation or recommendations then passed to the Government for comment and debate.

The BDA, who took the GDC to a Judicial Review in December over the regulator’s decision to raise the Annual Retention Fee by 55 per cent, welcomed the news. Mick Armstrong, the chair of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committe, said: “We’ve told MPs and ministers that patients and practitioners are best served by a regulator that is subject to real scrutiny. So we are delighted that the Health Select Committee has decided to call its first accountability hearing on the General Dental Council.

“For far too long our regulator has appeared to be operating in a consequence-free environment. And as a result we have not seen the efficient and effective regulation our profession deserves. From 18 month fitness to practise cases to unlawful consultations, it’s finally time to look at the impact of the GDC’s decision-making in the cold light of day.

“Westminster is waking up to the fact that Britain’s most expensive healthcare regulator is also the least efficient, most troubled and enjoys little confidence among the profession and the PSA. Politicians need to act, and holding the GDC to account is an essential first step.”

To visit the Health Committee’s website, click here. The form for submitting evidence can be found here.

To watch the hearing live, visit Parliament TV on 3 March at 2.30pm.

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