GDC consults on direct access to dental team

THE GDC is calling for views on a proposal to allow “direct access” to any member of the dental team without referral from a dentist.

Currently clinical dental technicians are the only DCPs able to see patients without need for a referral or prescription (in order to provide dentures). The new proposal would extend this to all members of the dental team including dental hygienists and therapists. Earlier this year the Office of Fair Trading called for these changes to be made as a priority and the Department of Health has welcomed the move.

At the same time the GDC is looking for views on new draft standards on conduct, performance and ethics for all registered dental professionals.

These include making it clear to patients which treatments can be provided under the health service and those which can only be provided on a private basis, and ensuring that a simple list of costs is clearly visible in a reception or waiting area. The standards also call for dental professionals to be sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English in order to communicate effectively with patients, their relatives, the dental team and other UK healthcare professionals.

A third consultation document on mandatory dental CPD has also been launched. The GDC is proposing a range of changes including the development of learning outcomes for CPD linked to GDC standards, annual mandatory CPD declarations, embedding personal development planning into the scheme and new minimum CPD hours requirements.

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