Modern Dentist Magazine Issue 13

Page 56


Moving Upstream

Conference 2020 In 2016, the General Dental Council (GDC) started an open and serious debate about the future of dental regulation. This discussion was based around the hypothesis that the system did not deliver clear benefits for patients, nor gave them the confidence that their concerns were being addressed within the appropriate timescales; the system had encountered some difficulty in maintaining the support of those regulated; and was insufficiently flexible enough to enable a proportionate and graduated approach. It was clear that change was needed, and so, through the GDC’s Shifting the Balance report, proposals for action were published. Much progress has been made against those proposals, but there is still more to do. In Shifting the Balance, the GDC has committed to moving the system of regulation forward against a new Corporate Strategy 2020-2022: Right time, right place, right touch. It was at the GDC’s Moving Upstream Conference 2020 that we were introduced to this year’s Moving Upstream Report. The morning session began with an introduction from the Chair of Council, Dr William Moyes, who commented on the new strategy and the GDC’s eagerness to continue working and engaging with the GDC’s stakeholders in order to further develop dental regulation and utilise the opportunities ahead as they look to apply right-touch principles to the regulatory framework. He highlighted that there had been positive changes regarding the Shifting the Balance programme, and it had made a significant impact, with the GDC receiving wide-spread support for several elements that have been introduced. A panel session on Public and Patient Expectations of Professionalism followed, facilitated by Professor Jonathan Cowpe, Association for Dental Education in Europe. It became clear after hearing the panellists discuss the issue of professionalism, that there needs to be clearer lines drawn between registrants professional and private lives as the boundaries are becoming blurred by an influx of social media platforms and the expectation to build a brand and reputation online. The GDC had received a lot of feedback suggesting that there was an overlap; for example, “As a healthcare professional you are never really “off duty”’. It was concluded that ‘professionalism’ needed to be better defined and that the GDC could be the key to outlining the principles of professionalism – work which the GDC has work underway to address. The second panel session was facilitated by Dr Toby Ganley, Head of Right Touch Regulation at the GDC, and focused on Demonstrating Commitment to Right-touch Regulation. The panellists outlined the challenges all the healthcare regulators could face with outdated legislation. Better signposting is needed, but delegates did highlight that events such as this conference were an example of attempts the GDC were making to achieve right-touch regulation within dentistry. The third and final panel session focused on the Future Challenges of Dentistry and was facilitated by Margie Taylor, Former Chief Dental Officer for Scotland. Panellists touched on the constantly changing environment within the dental profession and the effect this was having on young dental professionals as a culture of fear, influenced by litigation and regulation, weighs down on them and defensive dentistry becomes the norm. The conclusion of the panel was to continue working together as a profession to move forward and achieve right-touch regulation. The conference then broke out into four workshops to cover a series of questions sprouted from ‘How well does the system in which dental services are provided protect the public?’ The Chairs fed back numerous insights suggesting that there needs to be a better bridging of knowledge between the dental profession and the public. Ian Brack, Chief Executive and Registrar, closed the conference, bringing an effective end point to the Shifting the Balance programme and supporting the change of brand and narrative to the new strategy from 2020-2022. For more information about the GDC’s Corporate Strategy 2020-2022: Right time, right place, right touch, please visit their website:

56|Modern Dentist Magazine

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