Union urges GDC to reduce the backlog in the case examiners process

31 May 2024

MDDUS, a dental defence specialist, has called on the General Dental Council (GDC) to redouble its commitment to reduce the existing backlog in the case examiners process.

Delays in concluding the case examiners’ consideration of allegations brought against registrants is a recognised cause of stress and anxiety amongst dentists.

Data from the GDC shows that currently, only 55 per cent of cases complete investigation within six months.

Rachael Bell, head of dental at MDDUS, said, “We are pleased to see an increase in the number of cases closing with no action and the 15 per cent decrease in cases referred to full practice committee hearings – however the GDC must not sit on its laurels.

“Urgent attention is needed to address the backlog in the case examiners process as the GDC’s own data shows that only 55 per cent of cases completing investigation within the regulator’s own target of six months.

“The GDC needs to be bolder at case closures given that, of those that passed case examiner stage, more than a third closed without action.

“Any and all measures put in place to minimise the impact of concerns raised with the GDC on the health and wellbeing of registrants has to be a priority.”

A GDC spokesperson said, “The intensive efforts of our assessment (investigation) team have resulted in a significant reduction in the backlog of cases at investigation, however we recognise that more can be done to ensure that cases are assessed promptly by our case examiners.

“We are in the process of expanding the team and expect to see further improvements in clearance times in the coming months. We recognise the stress which fitness to practise proceedings bring, and it is in nobody’s interest that cases take longer to resolve than they need to.”