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War of the Gods
Greek mythology has it that before mankind there was a War of the Gods, between the older gods of Titan and the younger Olympians. After many battles, the Olympians – led by Zeus – won the day and the old hierarchy was destroyed. I hope my simple description doesn’t offend any true scholars out there, but we are observing our own battle between the establishment and the young pretenders as the British Dental Association threatens legal action against the General Dental Council.
Following the indication that the GDC is intending to introduce a 64 percent rise in our annual registration fee, rather than the inflation-linked rise originally promised, these organisations are locking horns in a fight which sees both sides notching up huge legal fees. The BDA has commissioned a report on the GDC finances by FTI Consulting, an independent company, which is highly critical of the BDA and points out many conflicts in it’s published calculations. If the GDC goes ahead with the intended rise, the BDA feels it has enough evidence to force a judicial review.
Mick Armstrong, Chair of the British Dental Association Principal Executive Committee, said: “The GDC now face a simple choice: step back from this flawed fee rise, or face a legal challenge. We are confident in our arguments, and ready to take any and all action necessary to stop it.” He continues: “If the GDC continues in its obstinate and obdurate rejection of our challenges, we are committed to seeing this through. What is really shocking is the fact that if it continues to resist this challenge, the GDC is using registrants’ money in its illogical and dogmatic battling – that damns the GDC still further.”
The only real response from the GDC has been a simple press release which has at it’s core: “The GDC’s position is that the consultation is being conducted fairly and lawfully. We are pleased that, to date, there have been more than 4000 responses. All of them will be considered carefully and will form the basis of a report to the Council in September, at which point a decision on the level of the ARF will be made.”
Kept in the dark
The consulting company, FTI, feels that we have not been given enough information to take a true part in a consultation process. It says: “There is significant further information that would be necessary to enable those consulted to challenge accuracy and the validity of the financial arguments upon which the proposed increase is based. FTI suggest that this includes: the figures and calculations used for the consultation document, such as the GDC preliminary budget completed in May 2014; updated business plans for future years and the 2014 management accounts; projections of expenditure for 2014 to 2017; Fitness to Practise expenditure projections; explanation of how the GDC has reviewed adequately its projected activities; and explanations of apparent inconsistencies between the information published in the consultation document and other published information by the GDC. This is not an exhaustive list.”
So, the catch-phrase is still “Watch this space”!
Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert Dental Contributor