The General Dental Council (GDC) will be sharing information on registered dental professionals as part of the changes in law regarding the vetting and barring of paedophiles.
From July 2010, any dental professionals changing jobs or starting work for the first time will need to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), a Home Office-sponsored body.
And the GDC now has a legal obligation to share information about registrants with the ISA, too.
The regulating body is currently waiting to be advised as to exactly what information it will have to share, but it is likely to be anything which could indicate that a registrant poses a risk to children or vulnerable adults.
The scheme – announced in September – will impact on all dental professionals and was set up in the wake of the murder of two schoolgirls by school caretaker Ian Huntley in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.
Anyone in regular contact with children or vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to register with the ISA and have a criminal records check.
Within the meaning of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, the delivery of dental care is a ‘regulated activity’ – therefore all those delivering that care must be registered with the ISA in the long term.
Registrants already employed and not changing jobs will be included in the scheme over time, with everyone needing to be included by 2015.
As of 12 October 2009, it became a criminal offence for people barred by the ISA to work or apply to work with children or vulnerable adults in a wide range of posts.
It is also now a criminal offence for an employer to knowingly employ a barred person in a regulated activity.
The GDC may also receive information about its registrants from the ISA. It has already been decided by Council that such information should not result in automatic erasure from the Register, but should be considered as an allegation of impaired fitness to practise through the usual channels.
The GDC is looking carefully at how the Vetting and Barring Scheme will affect registrants and what role the Council will play. It is liaising with other regulators and working out how best to share relevant information alongside existing guidance on protecting patients.