“GDC has been forced to think again” says BDA

Union responds to regulator’s “pause for thought” over ARF consultation

The BDA has expressed its hope that the GDC’s announcement to delay its decision on the proposed Annual Retention Fee (ARF) will result in a “fair process and properly reasoned arguments”.

The regulator has pushed back the final decision on the proposed 64 per cent rise until 30 October, as we reported yesterday.

Commenting on the seven-week delay, the chairman of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee Mick Armstrong said: “The BDA’s response to the GDC consultation raised serious concerns about the integrity of the principles upon which it had justified the fee rise. We await KPMG’s comments on the same assumptions that the independent analysts, FTI, challenged. With such a significant decision it is regrettable that the GDC didn’t make sure its figures were robust before it started.

“We also indicated that two weeks was an unrealistically short period to carry out proper evaluation of the evidence and comments submitted. The GDC has clearly agreed with this challenge and has now extended the period to over four times that long.

“The submission from Dental Protection Limited was highly critical of the GDC’s approach to both the classification and handling of the fitness to practise process. Evidently the council now feels the need to reflect on those and other comments.

“On all grounds, the GDC has been forced to think again – it is a shame that it could only do so when confronted with such a massive amount of informed criticism. All we have ever wanted is a fair process and properly reasoned arguments. That and a reasonable ARF paid to a GDC that is fit for purpose.

“Let us hope that the pause for thought allows both to be delivered.

“Members can rest assured that the BDA will be monitoring the situation closely.”