Doctor who?

In Britain, he may not be a doctor.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has had terse communications with the UK’s General Dental Council ahead of a meeting overnight to consider a recommendation by GDC’s Standards Committee that dentists no longer be permitted to use the title ‘doctor’. The BDA believes it is not a significant issue in comparison to some of the other issues faced by the GDC.

“That the GDC is choosing to devote time and resources to this issue when it should be concentrating on addressing the backlog of Fitness to Practise cases identified as an issue by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence is nothing short of astounding,” said Dr Susie Sanderson, Chair of the BDA’s Executive Board. “Dentists and dental care professionals have seen hefty increases to their annual retention fee and will not be impressed by this profligate use of the GDC’s swelled funds.”

Furthermore, she added, _”The use of this courtesy title is not an important issue for the public.”

The BDA has written to the GDC (and released the letter publicly on the internet), warning of the significant harm a move to strip dentists of this courtesy title could do. It points to the potential for the public’s trust in the profession to be diminished by a decision that could appear to downgrade the profession, and predicts confusion about the qualifications of many dentists from overseas whose qualifications are of an equal standing to their UK-trained counterparts but whose degree designations confer on them the right to use the Dr title.

“A ban has the potential to confuse patients, harm the reputation of the profession and create confusion about the equivalence of dentists who have qualified in different countries. We urge the GDC Council to reject the recommendation of its Standards Committee and instead concentrate on the areas of its work that deliver a real benefit to the public,” said Dr Sanderson.


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