During a GDC investigation, the General Dental Council may decide to refer a registrant to the GDC Interim Orders Committee. Interim referrals are commonly done during the early stage of the investigation.
The amount of notice that a registrant receives of a GDC Interim Orders Committee hearing varies, as the rules simply require that reasonable notice is given.
What is the function of the GDC Interim Orders Committee?
The committee will essentially conduct a risk analysis to decide whether it is necessary to make an order against an individual’s registration, pending the outcome of a fitness to practise investigation by one of the GDC Practice Committees.
An interim order will only be made if it is necessary for one of the following reasons:
- For the protection of the public;
- It is otherwise in the public interest;
- It is in the interests of the registrant.
The GDC Interim Orders Committee will not investigate the substantive allegation or make any findings of fact regarding the allegation, as this is the function of the GDC Practice Committees.
The Interim Orders Committee will essentially conduct a risk assessment, given the nature of the allegations and your specific circumstances.
What are the powers of the GDC Interim Orders Committee?
The GDC Interim Orders Committee has powers to:
- Decide that no order is necessary;
- Impose interim conditions (for up to 18 months, with six monthly reviews)
- Impose an interim suspension (for up to 18 months, with six monthly reviews).
If the committee decides to impose conditions, they have a wide range of options available to them to consider. The nature of the conditions imposed will depend on the committee’s assessment of the risk and what is proportionate to that risk.
Attending a GDC Interim Orders Committee Hearing
Attending a GDC Interim Orders Committee alone is an intimidating prospect. Much is at stake and the GDC registrant is often still in shock about the proceedings, at what is usually the early stages of an investigation.
If you have been given notice about a GDC Interim Orders Committee hearing, please contact the MedicAssistanceScheme to speak to one of our expert defence lawyers for urgent advice and representation.
Having an experienced lawyer at a GDC Interim Orders Committee hearing can make a significant difference to the outcome. Representation will give you the assurance that your lawyer is there to represent and defend you.
When facing serious allegations, it may be necessary, at times, to accept that the GDC Interim Orders Committee will inevitably be minded to impose an interim order. If so, our efforts can be utilised to persuade the Committee that workable interim conditions would provide adequate protection and that interim suspension is unnecessary. Experience of attending GDC Interim Orders Committees enables our lawyers to give you the best strategic advice about your individual circumstances.
GDC Interim Orders Review Hearings
If a GDC Interim Orders Committee made an interim order, this order will be reviewed by a committee every 6 months. It may be possible at a review hearing to persuade the Committee that an interim order is no longer necessary, or that an interim suspension order should be replaced with an order for interim conditions.
When new evidence becomes available, it may be possible to request that an interim order is reviewed earlier than normal to enable a quicker decision to be made.