A survey of more than four thousand of the UK’s dentists and dental care professionals has found that most have confidence in the General Dental Council (GDC) as a regulator.

The GDCs annual registrant survey, which was sent to a representative sample of dentists and DCPs across the UK in November and December last year, asked a range of questions.

This was followed with qualitative research in January and February 2013 – including telephone interviews and focus groups.


Although there has been a decline in confidence in dental regulation overall, nevertheless confidence in the GDC as a regulator remains stable. 65% of the dental professionals who took part in the survey are confident that the GDC is regulating dentistry effectively.

There is some evidence to suggest that the overall decline in regulatory confidence is linked to a perception of increased regulatory burden. When asked during the qualitative research, why they thought dental regulation was too great, registrants spontaneously cited other regulators and more specifically inspections.

52% of dentists and 72% of DCPs are confident in the GDC whilst the majority of respondents thought that the GDC was in touch with dentists (60%) and patients (56%). However, fewer than half thought the GDC was in touch with DCPs (41%) and the public (49%).

Annual Retention Fee

The survey asked respondents about the level of the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) for Dentists and DCPs. 79% of those dentists who took part in the survey thought that the dentist ARF was too high (£576), this view was only shared by 26% of DCPs – with 49% thinking it was about right.

79% of DCPs and 46% of dentists who took part thought the DCP ARF was too high (£120).

The GDC is currently reviewing the ARF policy to ensure that there is a more transparent and robust basis on which the fee level is set for different registrant groups.