The General Dental Council (GDC) will stop listing full addresses of dentists and dental care professionals on its public register.
Instead, the dental regulator will make the registration number the main way to identify and confirm the professional status of a registrant.
The GDC claims the decision has been made after discussions with patients, the profession, the Department of Health and the Professional Standards Authority, and the regulator will now also consult on whether to publish the town of where the dental professional lives too.
‘This is an important decision which shows the council has listened to and considered the views of patients, the profession, other regulators, the Department of Health and the Professional Standards Authority,’ chair of the GDC, William Moyes, said.
‘We must balance public protection with protecting personal information.
‘Publishing an address does not interfere with our duty to protect the public, or the purpose of the register, but could potentially pose a risk to a dental professional.
‘We committed in our three year road map Patients, Professionals, Partners and Performance to be more transparent and, where appropriate, to actively consider a range of views about the decisions we take.
‘I would encourage dental professionals to always display their registration number as good practice.
‘This will help to identify people carrying out dentistry unlawfully when they’re not on the register, such as in cases of illegal tooth whitening.’
The British Dental Association has explained it’s pleased with the decision to stop publishing registrants’ addresses online.
Changes cannot be implemented immediately because the rules and regulations governing such a change mean that there will have to be a public consultation first.
‘It is good news that the GDC has made this step in the right direction,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.
‘The publication of addresses was unnecessary, and out of line with other regulators, as well as a potential risk to registrant safety.
‘The BDA has campaigned long and hard on getting this policy changed.
‘The process of change is slow, but we expect the GDC to remain on course and implement this vital change.
‘We hope that the GDC continues to adopt such a proportionate approach to all of its regulatory responsibilities.’