Important Things Dentists Should Know when Getting Complaints at GDC
Some dentists and dental technicians experience their fitness to practice being questioned at the General Dental Council (GDC). The basis of the challenge can be their personal conduct, conviction, or performance. Once a dentist faces complaints and allegations of impaired fitness to practice, they will be referred to the GDC’s Practice Committees. The worst outcome the dentist could expect from the investigation is having their name erased from the dental register. Fortunately, a good GDC lawyer can help turn the tide into a favorable state.
How the Lawyer can Help
An expert specialist defence lawyer can assist a dentist who faces allegations impairment of fitness to practice. They provide the particular services below:
- Help clients prepare responses to Case Examiners/GDC committees.
- Protect clients’ interest
- Prepare for and represent clients at GDC Performance Committee hearings.
- Give advice and representation at the police station.
What to Expect from the GDC Investigation
Before a GDC investigation starts, a dentist gets the complaint and asked to submit a response. The Council will start the investigation and is likely to take further steps such as:
- Get evidence on the complaint by interviewing the complainant and other important parties.
- Get the dental record of the complainant.
- Take statements from colleagues and employers of the dentist in question.
After getting all necessary pieces of information, the Council case worker will refer the matter to the Case Examiner. A specialist solicitor at Blackfords LLP should give advice to the dentist whether or not to give a response and what to say in the response. The information obtained by the GDC will be reviewed by the Examiners which will decide whether or not refer the case to the Practice Committees of the GDC. These committees include the Professional Performance Committee, Professional Conduct Committee and the Health Committee and the choice of a committee will depend on a case’s circumstances.
Sanctions that the GDC can Impose
Below are some of the actions that the Examiners can take based on evidence from initial investigations:
- End the case with advice.
- End the case without further action.
- Give the dentist’s registration a formal warning.
- Refer the case the Practice Committee
In case the Practice Committee decides to take action against a dentist’s registration, their sanctions can include reprimanding the dentist, imposing conditions on their registration for a certain period of time (less than 3 years), suspending the dentist’s registration (less than 12 months) or erasing their name from the dental register.
Can the Dentist Continue to Work While Being Investigation
Although the dentist can continue to practice during a GDC investigation, if the Examiners decide to refer the case to the Interim Orders Committee (IOC), the dentist’s ability to work will be restricted. At the IOC hearing, the Committee will decide the possible suspension of the registration in the interim or an imposition of an order of conditions, until the hearing from the Practice Committee happens. These decisions are made based on specific legal tests. Thus, the dentist in question must contact a specialist solicitor to expect the best outcome of the investigation.