Dentistry Industry Regulation and Disciplinary Proceedings

If the General Dental Council (GDC) makes allegations or investigates a practice or a specific dentist, the consequences can be severe. Dentists can be struck off, or face hearings that seriously damage their professional reputation and ability to work. The solicitors at JMW have helped many dental practitioners successfully defend against a variety of charges. 

If you are being investigated by the GDC, call us on 0800 652 5559 or fill in our online enquiry form to speak to a solicitor. If your matter is urgent, our solicitors can help you 24-hours a day. Call us on 0800 804 8186 to access expert legal advice, whenever you need it.

All dentists in the UK are regulated by the GDC, a body tasked with setting standards and taking action against medical professionals who breach laws and regulation. All UK dentists must register with the GDC. Other dental professionals who are regulated by the GDC include:

  • Clinical dental technicians
  • Hygienists
  • Nurses
  • Technicians
  • Dental and orthodontic therapists

What To Do If You Have Received a Notification from the GDC

Dentists can be investigated for a range of regulation breaches. We have acted on cases involving:

  • Poor performance
  • Criminal behaviour
  • Serious misconduct
  • Professionals who are suffering from mental health issues and may be deemed unfit to practice

If you have received a notification from the GDC of an investigation, you should not directly respond without seeking legal advice first as anything you say may be used against you. It is vital you have the best legal support throughout the investigative process, ensuring you are aware of your options and understand the best course of action to take.

What Happens During a GDC Investigation

When the GDC conducts an investigation, there is a number of steps they will take to gather evidence, including:

  • Taking witness statements from the complainant and any other relevant parties
  • Interviewing employers and colleagues
  • Obtaining the complainant’s dental records

Once evidence has been gathered, your case will be examined and you will be asked to provide a response. Our solicitors can help you draft a suitable reply if responding is a viable option, as it is not mandatory.

The case examiners will review all the information that has been provided, deciding whether the case should be referred to one of the GDC’s Practice Committees:

  • The Professional Conduct Committee
  • The Professional Performance Committee
  • The Health Committee

If there are no grounds for a referral to be made, your case could be concluded with no action, concluded with advice, or a formal warning could be issued on your registration. If a referral is made, you will be invited to a public hearing where your fitness to practise will be judged and a sanction will be decided. 

The Outcome of a GDC Committee Hearing

At the end of a hearing, you could face one of the following sanctions depending on the committee’s decision:

  • A formal statement of the GDC’s disapproval could be issued
  • Conditions could be set on your registration for a maximum of three years
  • Suspension of your registration for a maximum of 12 months
  • Permanent removal from the dental registry

Sanctions usually come into effect 28 days after a decision has been made; however, if it is deemed necessary, a sanction can be made immediately.

  1. Can I continue working during a GDC investigation?

    Yes, you can continue to work while an investigation is taking place. However, if the GDC’s case examiners request an inquiry, a referral will be made to the Interim Orders Committee who can prevent you from practising until a public hearing. 

  2. How long does a GDC investigation last?

    The length of an investigation can differ depending on a number of factors, including the severity of your case, the evidence available and how long it takes the GDC to collect that evidence. The GDC should keep you informed of proceedings.

  3. Can I appeal a decision made by the GDC?

    Yes, once a decision has been made during a hearing, there is a 28-day time limit from the date of notification to make an appeal request to the High Court in England and Wales or the Court of Session in Scotland. Making an appeal will delay a sanction from coming into effect until a decision is made or the appeal is withdrawn; however, if a sanction was imposed immediately, this will remain in place during the appeal process. 

Why Choose JMW?

Our solicitors have years of experience dealing with GDC investigations. As well as criminal allegations made against dental professionals; JMW is best placed to help you.

We can help you:

  • understand GDC legislation;
  • prepare responses to GDC committees;
  • represent you during GDC hearings;
  • provide advice during police station interviews;
  • appeal decisions made by the GDC.  

Whether you have received a referral, are under investigation or are facing a hearing or trial, we can provide expert preparation and representation that protects your interests. 

Talk to Us

If you have been accused of breaching dental regulations, it is imperative for you to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. Call us on 0800 652 5559 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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