Dentistry? It’s all about trust

A total of 1,947 dental care professionals (DCPs) are today unable to work in dentistry.

Why? Because they failed to comply with the requirement to declare the required number of continuing professional development (CPD) hours.

The General Dental Council (GDC) was pretty upbeat about this saying that the first full CPD cycle had seen ‘huge numbers comply’.

Since DCPs needed to comply in order to carry on working, the failure of 1 in 20 to do this was pretty ‘huge’ to my way of thinking. Some of these may have retired or just not bothered, but it is still a significant loss of skilled people in dentistry.

According to my calculations, up to 1,350 dentists could today be working with unregistered dental nurse at the chairside, thus putting their own registration in jeopardy.

In addition, 428 dental technicians should only be doing ‘process work’ as it is called, not the normal tasks of a skilled technician.

By contrast, 98% of hygienists and therapists completed their allocation, as did orthodontic therapists.

Those DCPs who have not sent evidence of having completed their CPD will be written to by the GDC. They will be asked to do so within 28 days or they will be off the register.

Granted, these are only small numbers for nurses and technicians, but do they indicate some resistance to the idea of CPD for these team members?

As far as technicians are concerned, they could well ask the question why they need to be registered.

After all, if the work is sent to China, then the people who construct the crown or denture out there will not be registered. Technicians work under the supervision of a laboratory owner or manager.

For nurses, the three essential elements of their CPD, namely resuscitation, disinfection and radiography/protection are all matters for in-practice training.

Most of the time dental nurses, unlike hygienist and therapists, work under the direct supervision of a dentist. Even with direct access, they have little scope for independent practice.

They should work to the satisfaction of the dentist, not an official at the GDC. The dentist is, after all, responsible to the patient for the work done in the practice, no matter who does it. The problem is that the GDC does not trust dentists, which is a very sad state of affairs.



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