Many of the dentists I’ve come across during the last 10 days are hopping mad with the GDC. First it was the fee hike, then that advert in The Telegraph encouraging disgruntled private patients to complain to the Dental Complaints Service (see image to the right)
As you might expect the consensus response is outrage and how very dare they. Dental publishing websites and online forums are rushing to agree with each other and their readers.
This reactive group readily agree that it’s a shameful situation and Mick Armstrong, the new BDA Exec Committee Chairman, even went to the trouble of recording a video. See http://player.vimeo.com/video/100436807
But is giving private patients details about where they can complain really a ‘slap in the face’ for private dentists or a gentle reminder from the regulator that everyone in dentistry has a duty to provide the best possible care for their patient at all times and yes, big brother is watching them.
The financial services industry went from having a voluntary code of conduct covering mortgage sales to statutory regulation between July 1997 and October 2004. Mortgage regulation is fact and statutory regulation which demands a financial company treats its customer fairly was deemed to be necessary because the Government didn’t believe that self-regulation was working.
As dentists, we might judge self-regulation in 2014 to be working if we were seeing a reduction in patients who have experienced from dentists:
- Poor diagnosis
- Over promising/under delivering
- Poor record keeping
- Under treatment
- Poor treatment quality
Complaints about dentists have gone up by 110 per cent and as we know, when it goes wrong in the dental chair, the consequences can be a lot harder to rectify than being mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. The reality is most people who had PPI probably needed it and didn’t miss the money it cost them. But because of uber-regulation in the financial industry £billions have been paid out to these consumers in compensation.
If the Government perceives that collectively, the dental profession is failing to do the right thing for its patients, public opinion will lead to the Government taking a greater role in regulating how patients are treated both clinically and as people.
Bill Moyes knows this and perhaps instead of demonising him dentists should support his leadership.
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