The Dental Defence Union (DDU) has urged all dental professionals to set up a reminder ahead of the GDC annual retention fee (ARF) due date to prevent their registration accidentally lapsing.
The DDU has noticed members being removed from the register due to administrative problems when paying the ARF, such as direct debit failure. A little over a year ago, the GDC introduced the option to pay the ARF by quarterly instalments, meaning there are more opportunities for problems to occur.
The defence organisation says it is aware of a small but significant number of members who are waiting several weeks to be restored. It is asking the GDC to simplify and speed up the process of re-registration for those affected.
John Makin, head of the DDU, said:
"With patients in some parts of the UK experiencing significant difficulties in accessing dental care, we need as many dental professionals as possible practising. Unfortunately, a small but significant number of members have been unable to treat patients after their registration lapsed due to bank errors or missed correspondence.
"The GDC's own website currently indicates a target of three working weeks, increasing during busy periods. However, we have members waiting for two months or more to be restored. This is hugely disappointing in the current climate.
"It's our responsibility as registrants to ensure we renew our registration and to keep our contact and bank details up to date with the GDC. But it's also vital that the GDC makes the administrative process as simple and speedy as possible, which is not the case currently."
In January, the GDC revealed that following the annual renewal process in December, the number of dentists on the UK register remained stable with 42,215 dentists. However, the regulator also explained that 1,079 dentists did not renew their registration, which is 2.56% of those on the register.
John continued: "At the DDU we wish to see the re-registration process simplified. Not only is it extremely stressful for the dental professionals involved, who cannot earn an income while they await restoration, but it means many dental patients are experiencing needless inconvenience and delays."
The DDU has published the following tips on minimising the risks of registration lapses and what steps to take if it happens to you.
- Set up a reminder at the time your ARF is due (annually or quarterly, if you pay by instalments). Check everything is in order for a successful renewal and that each payment has been made successfully.
- Ensure your contact and bank details with the GDC are up to date.
- Try to ensure emails don't go into spam by adding the relevant address to your contact list and marking past emails as legitimate. Keep an eye on your spam folder around renewal time, just in case.
- Ensure you declare appropriate CPD requirements and that the declaration goes through correctly.
- If your GDC registration lapses, inform your dental defence organisation as soon as possible.
- You will not be able to treat patients until your registration is restored.
See further advice on paying the ARF and declaring CPD requirements on the DDU website.
This page was correct at publication on 15/09/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.