In June the GDC (General Dental Council) approved new standards for the Dental Team, which will replace the current Standards Guidance and accompanying statements. The new guidelines will come in to effect in September; however, the Scope of Practice isn’t included in these changes.
These standards aren’t just for the dentists, but for all members of the dental team, including dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental therapists, orthodontic therapists and dental technicians.
We are all registered with the GDC here at the Langley Dental Practice and fully support these new standards.There are nine principles that registered dental professionals must keep to at all times. Principles state what members of the dental team must do, as well as information being provided for extra things they could do to make the patients experience even better.
1. Put patients’ interests first: Members of the dental team must listen to their patients, be honest with them and treat them with dignity and respect at all times. They must also treat patients in a hygienic and safe environment, putting a patient’s interests before their own or their colleagues.
2. Communicate effectively with patients: Members of the dental team must recognise and promote a patient’s rights, as well as giving them the information they need in a way they can understand, in order for them to make informed decisions. The dental team are also responsible for giving patients clear information about costs.
3. Obtain valid consent: Members of the dental team must have valid consent before starting a patient’s treatment, whilst also making sure the patient understands the decisions they are being asked to make. They also have the duty to make sure that patients consent remains valid throughout each stage of the treatment.
4. Maintain and protect patients’ information: Members of the dental team must keep accurate and up to date records, whilst making sure they protect the confidentiality of the patient. They must also offer the patient access to the information they hold about them and only release information to third parties without the patient’s consent in exceptional circumstances.
5. Have a clear and effective complaints procedure: Members of the dental team must respect a patient’s right to complaint, making sure there is an effective complaints procedure readily available for patients to use. They must also provide patients with a prompt and constructive response when a complaint has been made.
6. Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests: Work effectively with your colleagues, contribute to good teamwork, as well as communicating clearly and effectively with team members and colleagues at all times.
7. Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills: Provide good quality care, whilst working within your knowledge skills, professional competence and abilities.
8. Raise concerns if patients are at risk: Always put a patient’s safety first and act promptly if a patient or colleague is at risk, taking necessary measures to protect them.
9. Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession: Protect patients and colleagues from risks posed by your health, conduct or performance and inform the GDC if you are subject to any criminal proceedings.
These principles are not listed in order of priority, as they are all equally as important and failure to follow them may result in a member of the dental team being removed from the GDC’s register. For more information on these principles visit the GDC’s official website: http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Pages/standards.aspx