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GDC registration fees to rise by a third

ENTISTS’ Annual Retenti on Fee (ARF) will rise to £576 next year, the General

Dental Council (GDC) has decided. It has also raised the fee for dental care professionals (DCPs) to £120 from 31st July next year. This move has caused a storm

of protest within the profession, especially among dental nurses, who feel that there is no justi fi cati on for any rise, let alone such a large one. GDC chair Alison Lockyer said

that, as a denti st, she recognised that there were dental professionals who were unhappy with the decision. But, she said, “Our strategy commits us to protecti ng the public, regulati ng the dental team. It also commits us to ensuring value for money and we will do all we can to conti nue to use our resources effi ciently and eff ecti vely.” In a

Alison Lockyer: denti sts will be ‘unhappy’ with this rise

statement, the GDC

said it was facing a number of signifi cant challenges which looked set to conti nue in 2011. Some of these would place additi onal pressure on its resources. These included a 40 per cent rise in Fitness to Practi se case load overall and an increase in hearings; 178 cases were referred to a practi ce committ ee in 2009 compared to 164 in 2008. The cost of legal and professional services now stands at more than £8 million. As well as the ARF rising for

denti sts and DCPs, the fi rst entry on the Specialist Lists will now be £345 with an annual fee of £72 thereaft er. Restorati on to the Denti sts Register will be £696; temporary registrati on of denti sts will be £576. Adding an additi onal DCP ti tle will be £12 and restorati on to the DCP register, £144. The GDC explains that the ARF

pays for all its core functi ons and must be set to refl ect its costs. The Council receives no funding from Government. The core functi ons of the GDC include registrati on, its work in quality assuring courses which lead to registrati on, setti ng standards and

the substanti al costs of dealing with the increase in volume of Fitness to Practi se cases. The GDC also says it is “committ ed

to being open and accountable about how it spends registrants’ money”. No members of staff were awarded a cost of living pay increase this year and a number of posts which were not essenti al to its core regulatory functi ons were removed.

Revalidation The GDC also says it is planning for “Government-led initi ati ves like revalidati on” which it must implement. In this respect the GDC has announced a consultati on into its proposals for plans for revalidati on which it proposes to introduce for denti sts in 2014. It says that revalidati on will make clear the minimum standards that all denti sts must meet. According to the GDC it is

expected that the majority of denti sts “will already be meeti ng these standards and should have no diffi culty in revalidati ng – it will build on the current requirements for conti nuing professional development”.

Northern Ireland to pilot new dental contract N

ORTHERN Ireland is consulti ng on a proposal to pilot new dental contracts

under Personal Dental Services (PDS). Although this scheme applies only to denti sts in Northern Ireland, there are some similariti es with proposals that have been made for the reform of the system in England and Wales.

The original proposals were made

over three years ago and their key aims include local commissioning, access to care for everyone who needs it, and a clear defi niti on of treatments available under the Health Service. They also want a greater emphasis

on preventi on, an out-of-hours service and a revised remunerati on system, which rewards denti sts fairly. Under the new contract, it is

likely that practi ti oners will receive the bulk of their Health Service income through the Pati ent Care and Quality Care Payments, with a reduced dependence on Item of Service fees. Pati ent Care Payments will

be regular weighted capitati on payments for providing ongoing pati ent care including examinati on and diagnosti c procedures, pati ent appraisal, simple periodontal care and preventi ve advice. The payment will be calculated using a weighted capitati on formula, which takes into account variati ons in pati ent need. Quality Care Payments will

be payable where the practi ce environment and individual practi ti oner achieve quality assurance standards. The blended payment system will consist of

these regular care payments along with supplementary Item of Service payments for specifi ed treatments from a clearly defi ned, but scaled down list of treatments that are available to all pati ents. There will be clear and

comprehensive informati on available to pati ents on which specifi c treatments are available under the new contract. Any items of treatment not included in the lists may be provided privately. Occasional treatments are sti ll included, as there will always be a pati ent group who only want to access care on an ad hoc basis. While pati ents are encouraged to register for ongoing care, there will sti ll need to be such a facility available for those pati ents who elect not to register.

Vol. 48, No. 11 NOVEMBER 2010


Problems with a heavily restored 10


Another chance to show off your photography 20

FOCUS Tooth 32

OVERSEAS CRU on a dental 42


Vita Rocks goes 48

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