What are “regulators” for?

I have been wondering about the parallels in regulation between dentistry and other professions.

General Dental Councilwww.gdc-uk.org – front page shows a smiling person doing something to a plaster model on a Tupperware container.

“We are the organisation which regulates dental professionals in the UK.”

General Medical Councilwww.gmc-uk.org – front page changing images of smiling doctors, patients, students etc

“Regulating doctors – ensuring good medical practice.”

The Care Quality Commision www.cqc.org.uk has been thrown over dentistry at short notice without thought, consultation or consideration. Nobody knows how it will work alongside the GDC or even whether it was needed to. Hours of work and a bill of £800. That’s for another day.

Next (in my ignorance) I went to The Law Societywww.lawsociety.org.uk

Strap line “Supporting Solicitors” “The Law Society represents solicitors in England and Wales. From negotiating with and lobbying the profession’s regulators, government and others, to offering training and advice, we’re here to help, protect and promote solicitors across England and Wales.”

So that’s not really the equivalent of the GDC/GMC. The site helpfully tells me that if you have a complaint about your solicitor you have to go to the Legal Ombudsman www.legalombudsman.org.uk (picture of Adam Simpson – a real person) which assures you that “we don’t take sides” – not the experience of many who come to the attention of the GDC/GMC.

On the other hand should you have a complaint about a solicitor that has worked for someone else then you need to take the matter up with the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (nice smiley young people) who it turns out are the “independent regulatory body of the The Law Society”.

The lawyers are facing changes in less than 3 months to the newspeak of “outcomes-focused regulation” and their registration fee structure was more confusing than GDC/GMC involving individuals & firms.

I was impressed with “Lexcel” which is only awarded to practices that meet high management and customer care standards.

My impression is that the legal profession is one step ahead of the dead hand of government and takes its image of self-regulation seriously.

Accountants are registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants which has a very helpful website www.icaew.com they say that “One of the aims in our charter is ‘to maintain high standards of practice and professional conduct by all our members’. As a professional membership organisation, we are committed to acting in the public interest.” You have to be ACA or FCA qualified to join but I believe you can call yourself an accountant without having qualifications.

Next I looked at the Nursing and Midwifery Council www.nmc-uk.org which ” exists to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public.It has the obligatory “how to make a complaint” button, I’m surprised they don’t flash and say “go on, you know you want to”.

Taking a look at the GDC, GMC & NMC websites I realise that they are all designed along very similar lines and possibly by the same team – not sure whether that reflects s loss of autonomy or what really. The GDC site is the worst of the three by a country mile, it is both patronising and complicated. Far too much information on the pages and not designed with the user in mind, the bunching together of every job in dentistry makes the whole thing unnecessarily complex. Would it be beyond the wit of the GDC to have different coloured pages for DNs, hygienists etc or is this part of the dilution of aspiration by insisting we’re all one great big happy team?

And don’t start me on fees, why is it that to register as a midwife costs £76 yet a dental nurse costs £120.





%d bloggers like this: