Dental Protection welcomes GDC move to stop publishing IOC decisions


  Posted by: Dental Design      3rd July 2024

Dental Protection has welcomed the GDC’s decision to no longer publish determinations made by the Interim Orders Committee (IOC) prior to a review or hearing, as part of its commitment to reduce the impact of the fitness to practise process on dental professionals’ mental wellbeing.

The move follows the case of a dentist who died by suicide while under investigation, prompting questions from the Coroner about the way the GDC publicly displays information before allegations have been determined one way or another. The Coroner directed the GDC to take action to prevent future tragedies, resulting in the regulator reviewing its IOC policy.

From today, the Dental Professionals Hearings Service will only publish an outcome on its website after a hearing or review has taken place, including any action taken to protect the public. All previously published IOC determinations have been removed from the website and replaced with the outcome of any subsequent hearing or review.

Commenting, Dr George Wright, Deputy Director at Dental Protection, said: “This is a positive development and strikes the right balance between protecting the public, and ensuring the negative effects on dental professionals’ wellbeing and reputation are reduced while matters are under consideration.

“This, along with some other recent steps the GDC has taken to ensure communications to those facing an investigation are more compassionate, and close simple cases more swifty, are welcome. There is however still more to be done to reduce the number of dental professionals needlessly dragged through the fitness to practise process, and resolve all cases more quickly.

“The GDC also recently confirmed that it is working to build a framework to report the causes of death of dental professionals where there is an active fitness to practise case, guided by an evidence review and engaging with experts including the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group. A report covering the period 2019-2022, is due to be published in 2024.

“This report is long overdue, and it is important that the GDC keeps to this commitment. When it is eventually published, it will likely make for difficult reading, but it will provide some much-needed transparency and will expose the full extent of this issue.”

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