When a complaint is received by the GDC, they will write to you to inform you that a complaint has been received about you. At this stage, it is important to remember that no decision has been taken in relation to the complaint and therefore you can continue to work as normal.
The letter, also known as a rule 4 letter, will set out the reasons why the GDC is looking into the concerns, and, most importantly, it is an opportunity for you to provide information about the complaint for further consideration by the GDC.
The Rule 4 process provides dental professionals with an opportunity to submit their comments in response to the concern that has been raised. The observations, if provided, are considered and included in the material used to determine whether the concern can be concluded by the case examiners or if it should be referred to a practice committee hearing.
The Rule 4 process currently allows 28 days for the dental professional to provide any observations to the allegations. Dental professionals subject to investigations do not have to provide observations, but it is strongly advised that you do and seek expert legal advice when considering your response.
This stage in the process is a crucial juncture in the process because case examiners will consider this information when deciding if there are grounds to close the complaint at this stage or refer the matter to a fitness to practise committee.
According to the GDC, around four in every ten (40%) concerns are closed with no further action at this stage. There is evidence to show that legal representation results in much better outcomes for healthcare professionals facing fitness to practise proceedings. The “rule 4 process” is a good example of where expert legal representation and advice can make a real difference because it offers an opportunity for dentists and other dental professionals to address and close fitness to practise proceedings at an early stage in the process.
GDC Defence Barrister
I am a leading medical and healthcare defence barrister acting for a range of dental practitioners in all matters relating to their fitness to practise before the General Dental Council (GDC). I represent and advise a range of dental practitioners before the General Dental Council including:
- Dental therapists and dental hygienists
- Dental nurses
- Dental technicians
- Clinical dental technicians
- Orthodontic therapists
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
If you have been notified by the GDC that you’re under investigation or are facing difficulties with your registration, contact me today for an initial free and no obligation consultation on 0207 060 1983 or Stephen.McCaffrey@kingsviewchambers.com.