It has recently been reported that a Freedom of Information request by Dental Protection to the General Dental Council has illustrated an apparent significant discrepancy between the level of sanctions applied to practitioners who are legally represented and those who are not. The general suggestion seems to be that substantially more dental professionals whose fitness to practise is found not to be impaired are legally represented than not. In addition, it seems that many more dentists erased from the register (and therefore unable to continue to practice) following a hearing are unrepresented.
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Reference to the GDC “Outcomes and Appeals list” which gives details of the outcomes of FtP hearings (although does not give information about matters concluded before reaching the stage of a hearing) tends to bear this out. It is apparent that the problem is not restricted to dentists, but also other dental care professionals, including hygienists, dental nurses and quite markedly, dental technicians, who do not seem to make up a very great proportion of those FtP hearings reported but for some reason often appear either to be unrepresented at FtP hearings or fail to attend at all.
This latest information follows a Freedom of Information request by Medical Protection to the General Medical Council reported towards the end of 2018, which confirmed a similar effect of professional legal representation at Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearings and also Interim Order Tribunals. Unrepresented GPs appear to fare particularly badly. It therefore appears that it is important for GPs to continue to have membership of a medical defence organisation, even after introduction of the new Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice which will only cover GPs for NHS- contracted primary medical services and not any private work or matters brought before the regulator.
Read about a recent successful case of restoration to the Dental Register where I represented the applicant here:.
I am a Public Access qualified barrister. I am also a registered Specialist in Restorative Dentistry and I have extensive experience in general and hospital dental practice as well as giving evidence at FtP hearings.
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If you are facing FtP proceedings without any legal representation, contact me at email@example.com or contact my clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 0207 353 6802.