The Annual Retention Fee (ARF) is the fee all registered dentists and dental care professionals must pay each year to remain on the dentist’s register or dental care professionals’ register. If you have not yet registered, you will pay pro rata.
Following a public consultation earlier this year, Council approved a three-year strategy today. In doing so, GDC has set the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) level for 2023 in the face of significant economic uncertainty. The ARF for dentists will be £690 (a 1.5 percent increase) and £114 for dental care professionals (no increase).
The increase for dentists is significantly less than the 10.1% rate of inflation (CPI, 12 months to September 2022), and the ARF level for both dentists and dental care professionals is lower than we predicted when we consulted in the summer. We were able to achieve lower-than-expected rates by closely monitoring our costs and absorbing the effects of inflation where possible, as we promised when we set out our expenditure plans.
In light of the current state of unpredictability, Council has established fees at a level that will allow us to continue to fulfill our legal obligations to uphold patient safety and public trust while prudently managing the financial risks brought on by significant and unstable inflationary pressures.
GDC Chair, Lord Toby Harris, said I'd want to express my gratitude to everyone who provided feedback on our plans for the upcoming three years. We have taken into account these comments and anticipate releasing our final strategy in the upcoming months. Some of the feedback was in reference to the fees we charge, so we're thrilled to have been able to further challenge our own expenses and provide dental professionals with a lower ARF in 2023 than we had originally anticipated.
"We must be financially sustainable in order to ensure that our statutory obligations are fulfilled. The reputation of the professions as a whole is supported in part by regulation, so that is not the only reason we must continue to exist. I think dental professionals benefit greatly from regulation.
We cautioned throughout the strategy consultation that if inflation remains high and prolonged, we might need to raise the ARF in 2024 and 2025. The level of the fee will be less guaranteed in the years to come. Still, this strategy allowed us to account for inflation in a responsible way while maintaining expenses for dental professionals as low as feasible in 2023. If additional inflationary increases are required, we are committed to keeping them to a maximum rate of inflation while still reducing our own costs.
GDC Chief Executive and Registrar, Ian Brack, said "We must control financial risks, especially those related to inflation, given the current unstable and uncertain economic environment. We are convinced that our spending plans will enable us to fulfill our core responsibility of upholding patient safety and public trust.
"Although we have stated that we will continue to limit costs aggressively, we might eventually need to raise the level of the fee. Any such increase will, at most, correspond to the current rate of inflation or arise from other unusual and unforeseeable conditions.