New updated GDC standards for dental professionals

THE GDC has published new updated standards for dental professionals to replace its current standards guidance.

Standards for the Dental Team will be effective from 30 September 2013 and hard copies are being printed and will be sent to all dental professionals by the end of August 2013.

The document sets out the standards of conduct, performance and ethics that dental professionals are expected to follow at all times. It also sets out what patients can expect from dental professionals. If a complaint is made about a GDC registrant it is against the principles set out in this document that their behaviour/conduct will be measured.

GDC Standards for dental professionals was first published in May 2005, replacing the guidance document Maintaining Standards. At that time, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists were not registered. Standards for the Dental Team takes account of these new registrant categories.

Among changes in the standards are standalone principles on communication and personal behaviour, a greater emphasis on softer skills and new requirements to display indicative prices for treatment.

The document will be supplemented by a number of additional documents, including guidance on the use of social networking and guidance on reporting criminal proceedings. These guidance documents will be available to download from the GDC website at the beginning of September and will also come into effect on Monday 30 September 2013.

Janet Collins, Head of Standards at the General Dental Council said: "Developing the new Standards for the Dental Team has been a lengthy and in-depth process, but one that we think has produced standards which have patient protection at their heart and provide more clarity on what we expect of dental professionals.

"We listened to what people said throughout the process and made key changes on the basis of that feedback. Each section of the new document includes the relevant patient expectations. We heard about the importance of communication from both patients and registrants and we now have a standalone principle on communication.

"We were told that we needed to produce guidance on using social networking sites like Facebook and that is exactly what we've done. Registrants also told us that they wanted more clarity and we have strengthened the language and included more prescriptive guidance. 'Must' and 'should' are used throughout the document so that registrants know exactly what we expect from them."