The Dentist Magazine.

Needed reform of health watchdogs kicked into long grass

Published: 26/06/2017

The British Dental Association (BDA) has expressed disappointment following the government’s failure to deliver pledged reforms on patient protection in the 2017-19 legislative programme.

Primary legislation on healthcare regulation, which could have commanded broad cross-party support, was pledged in the 2017 Conservative Party election manifesto. The BDA say that its absence from the Queen’s Speech raises real questions about government’s commitment to reform.

The General Dental Council (GDC) has routinely languished at the bottom of the league table for performance of health watchdogs. Recent surveys have shown that 87 per cent of dentists lack confidence in the regulator’s ability to reform itself.

Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said, “Ministers have again failed to make time to fix a broken system overseeing a million health professionals serving tens of millions of patients. After making unambiguous commitments to deliver new legislation, the government has chosen to kick needed reform into the long grass.

“Healthcare regulation remains grotesquely inefficient and ineffective, and when complaints arise patients and practitioners can be left in limbo for years.  We urgently require a system that can command professional and public confidence.

“Britain’s health watchdogs have presided over failure, secrecy and ballooning budgets. Ministers will need to explain why they have failed to act on patient protection, when needed reforms could have commanded cross-party support.”