THE General Dental Council has failed to meet a number of standards in its annual performance review and has "accepted the need for improvement".
The regulator fell short of six standards in fitness to practise and two in registration, according to the latest review by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA).
Among the issues highlighted include inadequate processes for managing risk in fitness to practise, a failure to ensure fitness to practise cases progressed without undue delay and a failure to provide good customer service to all parties involved in the fitness to practise process. The GDC was also criticised for failing to ensure that all fitness to practise decisions were well-reasoned, protected the public and maintained confidence in the profession.
The GDC said measures have been put in place to tackle the problems identified, blaming a huge increase in complaints for putting extra strain on delivery and resources.
Extra investment has been made in recent months including new casework teams and a "clear focus on management of performance."
GDC chief executive Evlynne Gilvarry said: "We regard failure to meet the PSA's standards as entirely unacceptable and all our efforts are focused on tackling the problems. We have increased resources to deal with the continuing surge in caseload and made other key changes to improve the performance of our teams."
GDC chair Bill Moyes said improving the fitness to practise function was the "number one priority" of the new council.
He added: "We are determined to lead the changes that will result in a much improved performance in a reasonable time. We continue to be disappointed that new draft legislation aimed at streamlining healthcare regulation was not included in the Queen's Speech.
"However, we are pleased that we have been granted a S60 Order to enable a key change to our fitness to practise processes - the introduction of case examiners - to bring us in line with other regulators."
The PSA review did contain positive news for the regulator which met all the standards of good regulation for standards and guidance and for education and training.