For anyone reading this who is not dentally qualified, the ARF is essential if you want to work in the profession. If you don’t pay it, you are struck off. An increase of 63% seemed disproportionate.
Dentistry under discussion in the House of Commons
The week before the British Dental Association and the General Dental Council faced off in the High Court, the question of dentists Annual Retention Fee came up in an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons. The MP and Health Minister Dan Poulter – pictured above speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group – showed his sympathies were with dentists when he said he had not been presented with any compelling evidence to justify the increase. It seemed auspicious that he should be so critical of our regulator just six days before the Judicial Review. You can read the BDA’s account here:
Moral victory of the BDA
When the day of the Judicial Review arrived, it went well for the BDA according to those who sat in on the case. But while the outcome was a moral victory. it didn’t deliver what we had all hoped for: a reduced ARF. The Judge declared that the GDC had behaved unlawfully and ordered it to pay both its own and the BDA’s costs. But he allowed the increase. Dentists are now paying more than double the fee that a doctor pays to be registered with their regulatory body! Our ARF is now £890 and a doctor’s is £390.
I think we have all admired the way the BDA fought our corner and while our faith in our regulator has declined, our faith in our trade union has increased.