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GDC cloak and dagger tactics must stop

The British Dental Association has said that the GDC must stop using registrant money on under-cover investigations, following the recent admission from the General Dental Council that it acted unlawfully in undertaking under-guise operations against a registrant.

Between 2013 and 2019, the GDC spent £59,258.85 on investigators. The BDA characterised this behaviour in 2019 as “entrapment” and has expressed disbelief that registrants' fees have been used to cover both the costs of related activity and resulting legal costs.

Following the initial revelations, the regulator attempted to justify its approach, stating there were ‘misconceptions’ about its work in this area. The Association feels such methods must be focused squarely on illegal operators and the growing risk presented by direct-to-patient orthodontics.

A significant review of healthcare regulation is currently underway, and the BDA will contribute to ensure that regulation in dentistry will become more proportionate as a result.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch has said:

“The use of Cloak and dagger tactics against innocent registrants underlines the need for fundamental change at the GDC.

“A devil may care attitude has left registrants footing the bill for unlawful activity, and the resulting legal costs.

"The GDC has tried justifying its approach. Clearly the courts have taken a different view and we now expect our regulator clarifies its future policy in this area publicly as matter of urgency.

“The big task ahead for ministers is to turn the page and deliver proportionate, cost-effective healthcare regulation. We will ensure the voice of our members is heard.”