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General Dental Council (GDC Defence)

The General Dental Council was established in 1956 to regulate and maintain standards in Dentistry throughout the United Kingdom. It s governed by the Dentists Act 1984 and regulates all Dental Care Professionals to enhance patient safety, improve quality of care and promote public confidence.  By law the following Dental Professionals must be registered with the General Dental Council:                           

  • Dentists                           
  • Dental Nurses                           
  • Dental Technicians                           
  • Dental Therapists                           
  • Dental Hygienists                           
  • Orthodontic Therapists                           
  • Clinical Dental Technicians

To ensure core standards are met, the GDC will take action against those who do not meet their Standards (Fitness to Practise) or who break the law by working without being registered (Criminal Proceedings). It is therefore vital that as soon as a Dental Professional becomes aware that they are under investigation that they seek expert advice immediately.  

As part of our experienced Disciplinary Team dealing with Healthcare Professionals,we provide specialist advice and representation before the General Dental Council's Committees and also when Dental Professionals are under investigation by outside agencies. We have advised and represented many Dentists over the years before the Professional Conduct Committee [PCC ]of the GDC and also whilst under investigation by the Police, NHS Protect and NHS Counter Fraud Service. In many instances investigations are intertwined resulting in proceedings both before the GDC Committees (Regulatory) and Criminal Courts. Owing to our experience over the years, we are excellently placed to provide robust and effective representation irrespective of the allegation. With over 100,000 Dental Professionals now registered with the GDC there has been an upward trend in the number of complaints due to concerns about Fitness to Practise, this has more than doubled to over 3,000 in 2013. Concerns about “Fitness to Practice” can fall within the following areas:                       

  • Clinical & Performance issues                       
  • Competency issues                       
  • Misconduct issues                       
  • Health issues

When a complaint is received the GDC will investigate and if there are concerns about a registrant’s fitness to practise, the Investigating Committee can refer the matter on to one of the following Practice Committees which will hear the matter in full:

  • Interim Orders Committee (IOC) – as the title suggests this is an interim hearing in which it is determined whether a Dental Professional’s practise should be restricted until the conclusion of a final hearing at one of the Committees detailed below. Restrictions can include Conditions or Suspension. 
  • Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) – determines whether a Dental Professional’s practise is impaired because of “conduct”. Thiscan be “conduct” both within and outside actual practise, in which it is determined that the reputation of the profession is brought into disrepute.  This can include Criminal Cautions and Convictions. Sanctions can range from a Reprimand through to Erasure (removed from the Register).
  • Professional Performance Committee (PrPC) - determines if a Dental Professional’s practise is impaired due to a lack of “competency and/or performance”. In other words, whether the Dental Professional’s Performance consistently falls below an acceptable standard.The GDC utilises an assessment  criteria provided by National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) as an independent agency. They can refer the matter to one of the other Committees (PCC or HC) or impose sanctions ranging from a Reprimand to Erasure. Health Committee (HC) – determines whether a Dental Professional’s practise is impaired because of health. This Committee may conclude no action needs to be taken, but also has the power to impose sanctions ranging from a reprimand through to erasure. It can also refer the case to one of the other Committees (PCC or PrPC). For those not on the GDC Register who have been refused entry or removed and not restored, it is possible to appeal to the
  • Registration Appeal Committee (RAC).  This Committee determines whether to allow or dismiss the appeal in relation to registration. There is no fee for lodging an appeal. Determination can be either in the applicant’s absence on documents or at a formal hearing. To ensure the best outcome, we would always recommend that a formal hearing is requested and that the applicant is represented. It is possible to appeal any decision of the Registration Appeal Committee.

Illegal Practice

The GDC is tasked with protecting the public from those purporting to be Dental Professionals when they are not registered. They will prosecute any individuals who have either been suspended or removed from the Register and continue to practise or those who have never been registered in the first place. Recently this has extended to Tooth Whitening procedures and there have been a series of prosecutions for Unlawfully Practising Dentistry contrary to Section 38(1) & (2) of the Dentists Act 1984 which states: (1) “A person who is not a registered dentist entered in the list of such practitioners or a registered medical practitioner shall not practise or hold himself out, whether directly or by implication, as practising or as being prepared to practise dentistry. (2) Any person who acts in contravention of subsection (1) above shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the fifth level on the standard scale”.  At Bankside Law we have successfully advised and represented a number of individuals who have been investigated and prosecuted for illegal practise, combining our wealth of experience within the Criminal Justice System gained over many, many years. This extends to all Criminal Offences with particular knowledge of NHS Fraud investigations involving complex interpretation of contract claims.

We represented the first health professional (a dentist) to have his case referred to the Administrative Court by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (now the Professional Standards Authority). See CHRE v GDC and Alexander Fleischmann

For a free introductory discussion, please contact Bill Wilson on either 0207 407 2356 or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Relevant links/articles: