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10


• Professional regulation


WHAT’S NEW WITH THE GDC?


Last year the GDC launched an updated set of standards for dental professionals. MDDUS dental adviser Claire Renton offers a quick low-down on what’s now expected


for the GDC is: “We regulate dental professionals in the UK - We set and maintain standards


A


for the benefit of patients”. What they have omitted to say is that they prosecute dentists if they think they might not be fit to practise. All


well and good you might think; those whose treatment is so poor that they have harmed patients probably shouldn’t be allowed to practise. But a quick look at the homepage of the GDC


S you know the GDC is the regulatory body for dental healthcare professionals, but what does that really mean for us as dentists? We pay an annual retention fee to be on the register but what do we get for our money? To give you a hint, the not-so-catchy strapline


in the last 12 months! What did change was that at the end of September 2013 the new guidance Standards for the Dental Team came into force. This document produced by the GDC is essentially the rule book. If you’ve not read it yet, might I suggest you go on the GDC website and download a copy. Be warned, it’s not a great read. There are no interesting


characters and the ending is as dull as the beginning. However, it is


“ The advice is simple: know what the rules are, keep up-to-date with changes and ensure that you treat patients the way you would treat someone you are fond of”


today headlined that on 21 May this year a dentist was “struck off for poor record keeping”. Yes, that’s right …struck off for poor record


keeping! I’m not familiar with that case and this was only a headline but the message here is that times are changing. The GDC is keen to prosecute and lots of good dentists are finding themselves in the glare of the regulator’s headlights.


New rules In the first quarter of 2014, MDDUS had nearly four times more members


referred for a GDC investigation as in the same period in the preceding year. Why? Well it’s difficult to be certain but I don’t think dentists have got worse


essential reading for practising dentists; it tells us what we must do for all our patients. Interestingly, it divides the rules into those that “must” be obeyed and those that “should” be obeyed, then goes on to define that “should” is essentially “must” except in exceptional circumstances! In truth, it’s a fairly sensible set of rules for professional people to be abiding by. The document is laid out according to nine basic principles: 1. Put patients’ interests first 2. Communicate effectively with patients 3. Obtain valid consent


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