DDU calls for GDC to retain in person hearings

Holding all GDC hearings remotely would disadvantage certain dental professionals undergoing a fitness to practise investigation, the Dental Defence Union (DDU) has said.

The DDU made the comments in its response to GDC proposals that all practice committee and registration appeal committee hearings will be held remotely by default.

Under the proposals, dental professionals would have to make a specific request for a hearing to be held in person, something the DDU strongly objects to.

John Makin, Head of the DDU said:

“In many instances, a remote hearing is preferable for all parties but we believe it is wrong for it to be a default position. It should not be necessary for a dental professional wanting an in-person hearing, to first make a case for that, when they are already under the considerable pressure of responding to the allegations being made.

“The arrival of remote hearings in regulatory and judicial proceedings is still relatively new and the GDC needs more time collate the evidence before proposing such a far reaching, permanent change.

“For example, how would such a change impact dental professionals with sensory impairments or who cannot access appropriate technology? And what about complex cases where the facts are contested and it is necessary to call a number of witnesses?

“Making this change would also put the GDC at odds with the approach taken by other healthcare regulators and in criminal and civil cases.

“We hope the GDC will reconsider these proposals. The consultation is open until 12 February and we encourage dental professionals to review the proposals and respond with their views on this important issue.”