New standards for dental profession now in effect

NEW GDC standards for the dental profession now in effect place a much stronger focus on patients’ expectations and entitlements.

Standards for the Dental Team took effect on 30 September 2013 replacing the previous guidance Standards for dental professionals. Any complaint made about a dental professional in regard to their behaviour or conduct will be judged against the standards and guidance in this document.

The standards include nine key principles:

1. Put patients’ interests first.

2. Communicate effectively with patients.

3. Obtain valid consent.

4. Maintain and protect patients’ information.

5. Have a clear and effective complaints procedure.

6. Work with colleagues in a way that serves the interests of patients.

7. Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills.

8. Raise concerns if patients are at risk.

9. Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession.

Among new issues addressed in the standards are principles of communication and personal behaviour including a requirement to be fluent in written and spoken English. There is greater emphasis on softer skills, such as helping patients feel more comfortable, and new requirements to display indicative prices for treatment.

Standards for the Dental Team is supplemented by the additional guidance on topics including advertising, prescribing, indemnity, report criminal proceedings and scope of practice.

GDC Chief Executive Evlynne Gilvarry said: "Patients have told us clearly what they expect when they seek dental treatment. The new standards reflect those expectations and guide the dental profession in meeting them."

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