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​Northern Ireland: Final round of feedback on Duty of Candour

20 July 2021

 

This week, we formally submitted the BDA response to the Department of Health Public Consultation on the introduction of a statutory Duty of Candour in Northern Ireland.

 
Many members already took the time to share their thoughts with us on what these significant policy proposals will mean to them, and their daily practise. This formed an essential part of our formal response.

  
However, we are now encouraging dentists to respond individually to the consultation, ahead of the 2 August closing date. This is the final round of feedback on this important issue. Please share your views, no matter how brief, by emailing: IHRD.Implementation@health-ni.gov.uk.


Share your own thoughts about what impact these proposals as currently drafted would have in dentistry, and feel free to draw from those aspects of the BDA response that you can relate to. From the responses we received:

 

  • Virtually everyone supports the need for all professionals involved in health care to be open and honest, and candid when things go wrong.
  • Of deep concern is the presence of fear in dentistry and its manifestation in ‘defensive dentistry’. There is a fear from the threat of litigation and a legacy of fear from what is perceived as a punitive and under-supportive regulator.
  • There was little appetite shown for individuals to be subject to the threat of criminal sanctions under a new statutory individual duty of candour, something that was viewed by practitioners as being counterproductive.


In our formal response, we made clear that there is much work still to do in a dental context to address this legacy of fear and the reasons behind it, and to enable a culture of openness and learning to flourish. We feel it is very important to see the GDC brought into this process locally.

 
We highlighted the disproportionate administrative burden these proposals could put on dental practices if they are subject to an organisational duty on the same basis as, say, a large Health Trust. We are not content that difference in scale - or indeed level of risk - has been taken into account in these proposals. That is why we are calling for both a Regulatory Impact Assessment, and an Economic Impact Assessment to be undertaken to ascertain the costs involved.


Any such duty must be implemented in a proportionate way, and where any additional costs are identified, these should be compensated for.


Please do consider responding to this important consultation ahead of the 2 August closing date. Your views matter, so please share them by email to: IHRD.Implementation@health-ni.gov.uk.