REGISTRATION with the General Dental Council (GDC) is mandatory for all groups of dental care professionals (DCPs), including dental nurses.
As all DCPs will be aware, the GDC protects patients by regulating staff, monitoring the quality of training and education, and setting standards for conduct.
Dental nurses must gain a primary qualification to allow them to work as part of the dental team and register with the GDC. It is the individual nurse’s responsibility to ensure they are registered with the GDC but practices are advised to have a system in place to check that staff subscriptions with bodies such as the GDC and defence organisations are renewed on time.
MDDUS has assisted in a number of cases, where the practice owner has been investigated by the GDC for employing a non-registrant as a dental nurse. In these cases, the dental nurse’s experience and ability does not mitigate the fact that they are not on the GDC register.
This is a legal requirement for dental nurses as well as dental technicians, hygienists, therapists and orthodontic therapists. Nurses in training are temporarily exempt but must be able to demonstrate that they are working towards one of the registerable qualifications on a recognised training programme.
In other words, they must be either employed and enrolled or waiting to start on a recognised programme that will lead to GDC registration; or studying on a programme that leads directly to GDC registration.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) states that all dentists and dental practice employees must have a DBS Check (disclosure and barring service) or PVG check (protection of vulnerable groups) in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It is up to dental practices to ensure they carry out the appropriate checks for any position where an enhanced or standard level check is required. Dentists, dental nurses and hygienists will qualify for the enhanced check with barred lists, as they will regularly come into contact with children or vulnerable adults.