When the GDC came – one person’s view of a process: Part 1
Dentists must read this and most of all, dentists who read this should share it so that more dentists and healthcare professionals can read it.
This is my story of when the GDC came and when a patient of mine complained to the GDC and they exercised their statutory duty of carrying out a full investigation. For those who are in interested, it relates back to the blog I posted on 30th November called The Stream of Consciousness, which you can read here.
There is too much to say in one post so there will be a series to explain the process from my viewpoint and to explain the impact of the process from my viewpoint. It is important at the outset to state, for legal reasons, that this is not a criticism of the process in any way nor is it a criticism of any individual organisation. This is one person’s experience of a process and their observation from inside that process. It is also important to say at the start of this how painful it is to do this and how much easier it would have been to carry on, not tell anyone and sweep this under the carpet and leave it be. For any of you who know me, that is not my style and is not my coping mechanism, to share this is my coping mechanism.
My clinical work is based entirely in implant surgery and more and more complex implant surgery (the simple stuff doesn’t come to me anymore). My practice has been based, since the very start, on dignity, humility and honesty. I have tried my best to be the best practitioner that I can be and I have sacrificed myself and my family for dentistry in that quest. I have shared freely and given advice whenever asked and have, for many years, welcomed people to the practice to watch what we do in the hope that it will improve patient care for as many as possible.
I have invested huge amounts of time in the ITI, the British Association of Surgical Dentistry when they were first set up, the British Dental Association as a Secretary for the East Midlands branch, the General Dental Practitioner’s Committee of the BDA for three years and the Local Dental Committee as Chairman all in the quest to improve dentistry for the end user… the patient.
I am (as many of my colleagues are) devastated when ever anything goes wrong with a patient and particularly when a patient ‘falls out’ with us or gets upset with the treatment we provide. Unfortunately this is inevitable in a small number of cases and it is a risk that we must all accept if we are to continue to practice. In my case, in October 2013 I was referred to the General Dental Council by a single patient who never once complained to the practice. Four days after the ‘brand launch’ of The Campbell Clinic and the huge celebration we were having, looking forward to a new period in the business, I received a personal letter from the patient to the practice to inform me that they had complained to the General Dental Council and that they wished no contact from me of any kind. Two weeks later I received a letter from the General Dental Council investigating the case and the storm began.
In the following blog posts I will explain the process that ran for fifteen months through an Investigation Committee Hearing to receiving a letter on 8th January 2015 to inform me that the case had been closed with two points of advice. Fifteen months, one GDC expert report, an Investigation Committee consisting of a dentist, a hygienist and a lay person, a charge sheet written by a Civil Servant which accused me of being misleading, deliberately misleading and dishonest and hours and days and weeks and months of heartache and heartbreak, of broken confidence, shattered self esteem and fear.
Please share this blog as widely as you can, I want to explain the process that I went through over the next few entries in the blog and I want to enter into discussion with anybody who wishes to do so.
For the moment my involvement with the GDC is finished (that is not to say that I won’t have further involvement as I go through my career) but what I would like to do is be able to offer advice, help, support and a shoulder to cry on for anyone else who needs it because that is what happened to me and that’s what I got from my colleagues in the profession. For that I am forever grateful.