Standards for dental profession put new focus on patients

New standards for the dental profession come into force today that put a much stronger focus on patients’ expectations and entitlements.

Issued by the General Dental Council (GDC), the UK’s dental regulator, the standards were developed following intensive consultation with patients and the public.

‘Standards for the dental team’ takes effect on Monday 30 September 2013 and replaces the previous guidance ‘Standards for dental professionals’.

If a complaint is made about a dental professional their behaviour/conduct will be measured 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.

New issues addressed in the ‘Standards’ include:

• Principles on communication and personal behaviour (being fluent in written and spoken English)

• Greater emphasis on softer skills

• New requirements to display indicative prices for treatment (price lists should be displayed in a reception or waiting area).

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.’

By law, all dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists must be registered with the GDC to work in the UK. This is to ensure only appropriately qualified and skilled dental professionals are part of the dental team looking after patients.

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