At the Deanery we aim to support any dental registrants who may find themselves in difficulty. This includes all categories of GDC registrant, including (among others) dentists, therapists, hygienists, nurses and technicians. Registrants may find themselves in difficulty for various reasons, such as poor health, poor performance, or conduct that places them in breach of GDC guidance. The goal is to support these registrants, and work with other stakeholders such as Primary Care Trusts, the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) and local mentors and trainers, to help ensure these dental professionals get ‘back on track’.
Support can be offered formally, or ‘informally’. Formal support may be offered to registrants who may be in a formal process, such as an NCAS assessment, or a GDC committee hearing process. In these types of case, the Deanery can be instrumental in helping a registrant satisfy conditions that may be placed on their registration, or helping them work through a Performance Improvement Plan. ‘Informal’ support may be offered by mentoring or coaching, where required.
Remediation of Dentists in Difficulty
The Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors (COPDEND) has assisted with the remediation of dentists in difficulty for many years. In the past the number of cases being referred to deaneries has been low. The gradual transition to a more litigious society and a heightened awareness of the need to address poor professional performance has resulted in a marked increase in the number of cases requiring remediation. There has been a threefold increase in the number of cases heard by the General Dental Council in the past five years. The National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) has received more than 450 requests for advice in the past 7 years.
The Postgraduate Dental Deans in England determined that in the interest of protecting the public and in light of the need for appropriate quality assurance of remedial training, it would be beneficial to develop a framework for handling these cases.
Following a national workshop of stakeholders involved with dentists in difficulty, COPDEND subsequently established a working party of key stakeholders to prepare guidance on the management of these cases both for deaneries and for those agencies referring to them.
The remit of the working group was to develop a framework for COPDEND members and stakeholders to use in order to facilitate the appropriate remediation of registered dentists whose performance has been found to be below accepted levels for the profession and to describe appropriate referral pathways for that remediation, agreeing wherever possible the processes that will be followed to maximise the likelihood of a successful outcome.
It was agreed by all the stakeholders that ultimate responsibility for the remediation rests with the registrant. The role of the deanery is to provide assistance in drawing up a remediation action plan, to give advice on resources available to the registrant, to monitor the milestones in the action plan and to report back to the referring agency.
The cost of a remediation programme is also the responsibility of the registrant, although support may be available from other sources.
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