The profession was astonished on 30 June 2014 when the General Dental Council (GDC) announced that it plans to increase the annual retention fee (ARF) for dentists from £576 to £945 in 2015: a 64% increase.

The GDC has launched a consultation on the level of the ARF for registrants, following an earlier consultation focused on the policy used when setting the ARF.

The Council says that it has considered the responses from the earlier consultation when establishing the proposed new fee. It says that it needs to increase the fee due to the 110% increase in the number of complaints made about GDC registrants since 2010, in order to pay the cost of fitness to practise hearings.

The British Dental Association (BDA) was quick to condemn the GDC's plans. It has called on the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, to initiate an investigation into the competence of the GDC, following its poor performance appraisal by the Professional Standards Authority. Principal Executive Committee (PEC) Chair Dr Mick Armstrong said that the BDA is deeply concerned about the GDC's inefficiencies and poor management to date, and has questioned its credibility.

Dr Armstrong met with GDC leaders on 1 July to express the profession's alarm at the planned fee increase and told them it was wholly unacceptable and at odds with the actions of other regulators.

The BDA has launched a 'No to ARF rise' campaign and is encouraging all dentists to:

  • Read Mick Amstrong's blog on BDA Connect

  • Email/write to their MP

  • Post the 'Dentists say no 64% rise in the GDC's ARF' postcard directly to Jeremy Hunt (included with the BDJ as an insert on 11 July 2014)

  • Fill out the BDA survey

  • Sign the e-petition at

  • Use the hashtag #ARFhike on Twitter

  • Lend your support to the BDA's Facebook page

  • Share your views on the BDA Connect Forum page

  • Read the GDC's consultation documents and respond directly.

All of the BDA's activities and links to their forums and surveys can be accessed via

The BDA has also challenged the GDC to justify its inflammatory advertisement that featured in the Daily Telegraph on 5 July 2014. The full-page advertisement invited private dental patients to report to the profession's regulator if they are 'not completely happy' with their care.

The ARF for dental care professionals (DCPs) is also set to increase, from £120 – which has already been contested by DCP groups on account of their lower earnings – to £128 from 2015 (a 6.7% increase).

The consultation is open until 4 September 2014; further information can be found at

The e-petition has already attracted over 13,200 signatures at the time of writing. Add yours at

Another petition placed on invites signatories to 'Disband the General Dental Council', and has attracted the support of 3,971 people.