The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) has called for a cautious approach to altering dental specialty lists in future.
In a response to a consultation by the General Dental Council, it has urged the regulator to be cognisant of the significant impacts of its decisions on the profession, both when deciding to create or remove a list, and in considering the practicalities of implementing a change, and says it should allow sufficient time for an orderly transition.
The Faculty argues that "The creation or removal of a specialist list could potentially have significant effects on patients in terms of being able to conveniently and affordably access the appropriate standard of care…[and] could cause significant disruption on the profession both in the short and long term in terms of revising care pathways, planning careers and investing in training”.
The GDC was consulting on draft revised purposes and principles of specialist listing, which the Faculty has been involved with developing through representation on the GDC Specialty Working Group.
While the Faculty supports the revised purposes and principles, it is proposing that for the creation of a list there should be a requirement for a weight of credible evidence indicating that patient outcomes would improve as a result, and that for the removal of a list, there should be a weight of evidence indicating that its removal will not negatively affect patient outcomes.
The Faculty also expresses scepticism about a proposal to change the specialist lists into specialist registers, contending that continued practice and evidence of continuing professional development in a specialty are the appropriate qualifiers to maintenance of specialist accreditation.
However, FGDP says that if specialist listing is pursued, the additional costs of registering specialists should be recovered through the additional Annual Retention Fees levied on specialists, and not through cross-subsidy from the ARFs levied on non-specialist dentists or dental care professionals.
In its response, the Faculty also calls for the inclusion of the British Dental Association on the Specialty Working Group, suggesting that it would provide valuable input both in decision-making and in helping plan implementation of any changes.
The full consultation response is available on the Policy, Reports and Consultations page.