|Framework for standards|
|Friday, 01 April 2011|
Representatives from the dental profession have met to discuss the challenges of revalidation. Robert Chate reports
At the invitation of the President of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, a meeting entitled ‘Independent Standard Setting for the Dental Profession’ was convened on 18 January in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
The concept arose following a meeting of Medical Education England in 2010, when deficiencies in the governance and representation of the dental profession had emerged in the plans for revalidation.
The aims of the conference were therefore to contribute to the discussion on dental revalidation and to explore whether an intercollegiate consensus could be reached on possible roles for the various faculties of dentistry in the process.
The conference brought together representatives from the UK’s professional dental bodies, including the Faculties of Dental Surgery of the Royal Colleges, the General Dental Council, the Chief Dental Officers for England and Wales and the British Dental Association.
The RCSEng President opened the meeting by highlighting how the medical profession had modelled its revalidation process on the British Constitution’s tripartite structure of Legislators (MPs), an Executive (Government) and the Judiciary; namely, by the GMC, the BMA and the Royal Surgical Colleges adopting similar, respective roles. In contrast, it was noted in dentistry that while a GDC Regulator and a BDA Trade Union existed, there was no independent body setting dental standards.
Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, outlined how the coalition government supported the concept of revalidation that would produce quality improvement, being grateful for the work undertaken by the English faculties of dentistry on the development of Dental Quality Indicators. Following this, the Dean of the FDS RCSEng asked how the government could ensure that EU graduates complied with the same standards as those required by UK graduates upon registration with the GDC. The point was well taken but the Minister also commented that while the Regulatory authorities cannot enquire into the specifics of an EU professional’s training credentials, employers and commissioners were entitled to do so.
The meeting heard presentations from the Chair of the FGDP’s Lay Advisory Group, the revalidation leads for the two English College faculties of dentistry and the Chair of the GDC. Agreement was reached that revalidation should not be viewed solely as a remedial or disciplinary mechanism, but as a means to facilitate progressive professional improvement for the majority of dentists.
The meeting also addressed how independent standard-setting could contribute to dental revalidation. Presentations were made by the RCSEng Council lead on medical revalidation, outlining the pitfalls to avoid from lessons learned during liaisons with the GMC. Other talks were heard from the Medical Director of the Royal College of General Practitioners, the CEO of the British Orthodontic Society and a consultant oral surgeon, the latter two giving perspectives on specialty requirements for an otherwise generic-based process.
The meeting concluded that a tripartite model for revalidation should be adopted, with the creation of an independent pan-dental board whose members would be drawn from all of the faculties of dentistry. Its remit would be to define a framework of professional standards that would be used for revalidation.
Robert Chate, Member of Council, Faculty of Dental Surgery