General Dental Council set to raise Annual Retention Fee (full article)
Overloaded, pressurised and sluggishly-paced (no, not the lifts at Guy's every morning!): dentistry has changed remarkably over the past decade. With GDC fee hikes among various rising costs to practice, uncertainty is understandable amongst professionals and dental students alike.
Registration with the GDC is a lawful requirement for dental professionals. However, from 2015, the independent body has planned to increase their ARF from £576 to £945: a 64% rise.
Undoubtedly, this increase has been met with fierce opposition. The profession appears to have fallen out with its regulator, whilst defence organisations and even the Department of Health (who typically has little involvement with such bodies) have all queried the GDC's justification.
Allegedly these fees must meet rising operating costs incurred from Fitness to Practice hearings, with ever-growing numbers of complaints made against registrants since 2010. This, hand-in-hand with the emergent litigation culture in the British dental industry, directly affects students. Representation by defence unions is a more worthwhile investment than ever.
The BDA, our professional association, have called into question the GDC's integrity. Legal proceedings were pursued and followed by commisioning of a major accountancy firm to review the case for rising fees. The ultimate decision can be expected on 30 October 2014.
As young, ambitious dentists, these matters concern us greatly. There is an essential requirement for unity and strong advocacy amongst the profession. Here are some action points to consider:
- Greater involvement with the BDA, unions and other dental organisations will not only give you a voice, but also address your worries
- Support petitions or campaigns you feel strongly about
- Develop yourself - network and enhance your profile
- Prepare yourself for the reality of dentistry - increase your awareness of current affairs
Editor's note: on 30/10/14 the GDC elected to proceed with a 55% hike in fees, causing widespread consternation; simultaneously the BDA announced that its push for a fast-track judicial review of the decision has been successful, and shall take place before fees are due on 31/12/14.