Dental Protection continues to be deeply concerned at recent events at the General Dental Council, culminating in the resignation of Alison Lockyer both as Chair of the GDC and as a Council member. This follows hard on the heels of the resignation of two of the six Investigating Committee Chairs; both of them hugely experienced individuals.
Kevin Lewis, Dental Director, said:
“Dental Protection has been voicing its concerns for some time now that certain aspects of the GDC’s work left a lot to be desired. The Fitness to Practise procedures were a case in point, as recently confirmed by the largely critical CHRE report, while some of the recent policy decisions also suggested a fundamental lack of understanding of the dynamics of the profession and its relationship with the public.
The dignified departure of Alison Lockyer as GDC Chair, and the measured but pointed terms of her public comments as she left office, should set alarm bells ringing that something profoundly disturbing has been happening at the GDC. It is clear that the departing Chair has formally raised concerns with the relevant authorities about the internal operation of the GDC at a senior level, and these concerns surely warrant thorough investigation if public and professional confidence is to be maintained. Divisions are self-evident between some of the lay and professional members, and also between some Council members and the GDC Executive and staff. This is not good news for patients, and coincidentally it is not good news for the profession either at a time of such enormous challenge.
One of the greatest risks of the change from a partly-elected to a wholly-appointed Council at the end of 2009 was a lack of continuity, knowledge and experience. This made the scale of the internal staff changes in the first six months thereafter particularly surprising. Having four Registrars of one kind or another in barely ten months made matters worse. The fact that one of the most longstanding and widely experienced professional members has now left the GDC, coupled with the fact that two such senior Investigating Committee Chairs should also have chosen to resign, suggests that it will continue to be an uphill struggle to reassure protection/defence organisations, registrants and the public that the GDC still has the knowledge and capacity to focus upon the job in hand. We can only hope that it has, but time is not on the side of the GDC.”