BDA blasts GDC as ARF remains unchanged during Covid-19 crisis


  Posted by: Dental Design      21st May 2020

Following today’s announcement from the General Dental Council (GDC) that it will not make changes to the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) levels or introduce an emergency payment scheme to allow registrants to pay by instalments, the British Dental Association (BDA) has published an open letter to the Chair of the Council, Bill Moyes.

With the profession now facing grave financial uncertainty the BDA has lamented failure by the regulator to show flexibility to colleagues, some of whom have seen their incomes fall to zero. It has also called for much-needed transparency in the process for setting the ARF. The GDC retains a budget operating surplus and significant reserves.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: “Despite recognising the dire financial circumstances in which many practices and individual registrants find themselves, the GDC has not seen fit to provide even token support, citing no fundamental change to the work it does and the little financial impact the move would have on registrants. Greater transparency into the reasoning behind this decision would have been the very least response registrants should have received. But the message we are left with is ‘we need all the money and whatever we could do won’t really help you much’.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the GDC said: “The real solution to these issues is to achieve a safe return to treating patients – a goal we all share, and all have a part to play in. But while that remains uncertain, we still have to carry out our legal duties and we need to ensure that we have the financial resilience to do so. Our free reserves provide only limited cover and it would not be prudent to run them down. We know that the decisions not to reduce the ARF further, or to introduce an emergency instalment scheme, will not be welcome ones and they were not reached easily or lightly. But we continue to believe they were the right ones to take.”

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