New emphasis on dentists raising concerns

SAFEGUARDING children, young people and vulnerable adults have been chosen as key learning areas for dentists.

The General Dental Council is to include them as recommended continuing professional development (CPD) topics.

The regulator said the move is designed to increase awareness of the issues “so that all dental professionals feel confident and equipped to raise any concerns about abuse or neglect of vulnerable people.”

The GDC’s guidance Standards for the Dental Team states: “You must raise any concerns you may have about the possible abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults. You must know who to contact for further advice and how to refer concerns to an appropriate authority such as your local social services department.”

It adds: “You must find out about local procedures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. You must follow these procedures if you suspect that a child or vulnerable adult might be at risk because of abuse or neglect.”

Safeguarding children and young people, and safeguarding vulnerable adults will sit alongside existing recommended topics of legal and ethical issues, complaints handling, and oral cancer: improving early detection. Recommended topics may be either verifiable or non-verifiable CPD.  

The GDC already lists several “highly recommended” topics as part of verifiable CPD which include medical emergencies, disinfection and decontamination and radiography and radiation protection.

Dentists are required to carry out a minimum 250 hours of CPD every five years, at least 75 hours of which must be verifiable CPD. It is recommended dentists carry out verifiable CPD in recommended topic areas as part of the 75-hour minimum amount. Dentists who fail to meet the targets risk removal from the register.

The regulator has updated its CPD guidelines to reflect the changes.