GDC Lawyers for Dentists

Richard Nelson LLP’s dental solicitors have significant experience in representing dentists, dental technicians and other dental care professionals in GDC fitness to practise investigations and hearings. Our dental lawyers have provided legal representation for a variety of dental professionals, from student dentists to dentists who own large practices; both NHS and in the private sector.

Dentists

The General Dental Council investigates a variety of fitness to practise complaints against dentists from concerns raised by patients, employers, the police and other professionals. Complaints can also come from the Dental Complaints Service, which is funded by the GDC and receives initial complaints about private dental care.

Complaints of dentist misconduct can be varied, but may include issues such as:
- Theft/dishonesty;
- Practising without professional indemnity insurance;
- Fraudulent claims for non-existing NHS work;
- Improper relationships with patients;
- Inadequate dental treatment;
- Alcohol/drug dependency;
- Criminal convictions/cautions;
- Failure to obtain informed patient consent;
- Having an ineffective complaints procedure;
- Scope of practice issues for dental technicians.

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The GDC Firness to Practise Committees

The GDC has three separate fitness to practice committees that deal with dentist’s fitness to practice cases based on the nature of the allegation against them:

- The Professional Conduct Committee – deals with allegations that a dentist’s fitness to practise is impaired due to allegations relating to misconduct;
- The Professional Performance Committee – deals with allegations that a dentist’s fitness to practise is impaired due to clinical performance which is consistently below an acceptable standard. In cases of this nature the GDC will often consider a performance assessment to assist them to objectively assess the dentist’s clinical performance;
- The Health Committee – deals with allegations that a dentist’s fitness to practise is impaired due to the registrant’s own ill health.

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Our Dental Lawyers

Our dental lawyers represent dentists through all stages of a GDC fitness to practise investigation; from initial referral to preparing written representations to the Investigating Committee, to representing dentists before the Interim Orders Committee, the Professional Conduct Committee and the Professional Performance Committee.

We work with dentists to establish a clear strategy for their case from the outset. We prepare robust defences to disputed allegations and, where necessary, we present convincing mitigation. We always have the clear objective of obtaining the best possible outcome for dentists.

Our GDC lawyers also work alongside our criminal defence team if a dentist is accused of criminal offences, to ensure that a multidisciplinary approach is taken to provide the best defence team.

Independence from defence organisations

As GDC solicitors, we regularly defend dentists on a nationwide basis, who are not members of a defence organisation, or who have been refused representation by their union. Unions may refuse cover if an allegation relates to a dentist’s private life, or if issues of dishonesty are alleged. Our dentist lawyers also have experience of representing dentists who, for various reasons, have been practising without indemnity cover.

We are completely independent of any defence organisation and therefore we provide dentists with a personal and discrete service, maintaining complete confidentiality.

Our defence lawyers have expertise in representing dentists, dental professionals and dental students with GDC fitness to practise investigations and with a variety of other regulatory problems such as:

– GDC Fitness to Practise
GDC Investigating Committee responses;
– GDC Professional Performance Committee;
– GDC Health Committee;
– GDC Professional Conduct Committee;
GDC Interim Orders Committee;
GDC Appeals
– Criminal Investigations and proceedings;
GDC Registration advice;
– GDC Registration Appeals Committee;
GDC Restoration Applications;
– Police investigations and criminal proceedings for dentists;
– Assistance in disclosing issues to the GDC;
– Commercial Disputes;
GDC Hearings
University fitness to practise investigations for student dentists;

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