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4. Maintain and protect patients’ information 5. Have a clear and effective complaints procedure 6. Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests 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.


Consenting adults and others So what’s new? Well there’s a whole set of rules concerning consent, so it follows that it’s important to ensure patients are fully informed of treatment proposals, are given written estimates for their treatment and that there is a note in the records detailing the options discussed and something to say that they have consented or agreed to a particular treatment. It’s not necessary to have a specific consent form for dentistry carried out on conscious patients but it is essential to make a note that consent has been obtained verbally. You must, however, have a signed written consent form for


patients being treated under sedation or general anaesthetic. I think it’s also a good idea to have a signed form when the treatment is going to take a long time, is complex or expensive. Why? Well, it’s common for patients to claim that they did not consent to treatment when it has gone wrong and it’s much more difficult to defend if there is nothing in the notes to support the dentist’s position.


Banging on about records Other aspects of record keeping are also prominent issues within the guidance. I can’t think of a single clinical GDC case that hasn’t also had charges relating to some aspect of record keeping. I know defence organisations always bang on about record keeping but while good records helped in defending a claim in the past, nowadays they might just keep you in a job. The standard


expected of our record keeping is that contained in the pithily titled Clinical Examination and Record-Keeping: Good Practice Guidelines of the Faculty of General Dental Practice. It’s an essential read and as most of our dental records are on computer it’s possible to make up templates to fill in to ensure the essential information is present. As an aside, in Scotland records are increasingly being


requested from Practitioner Services to check that the claim made for payment is justified, so for example if you are claiming a 1a examination the claim might be considered unjustified if you haven’t assessed and recorded any malocclusion. So that’s another document to read – the Statement of Dental Remuneration. In England and Wales, the situation is similar. It’s important to ensure that your records show you have completed all necessary assessments and proper recordings before making any claim for payment.


GDC standards on the go


Take care out there The new GDC standards also include some subtle but important changes regarding when dentists are required to notify the regulator of any criminal charges. Before September 2013 the GDC only required notification by a dentist once they had been convicted of a crime but now dentists have to notify the GDC if they have been arrested, charged or even accepted a formal Adult Warning (Police Caution in England). So beware! No ridiculous speeding, being drunk and disorderly or getting caught short on the way home from a night out. Not that you would! I am sorry if all of this scares you. It shouldn’t. 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. If you are in any doubt, give us a ring on the advice line. We are always happy to chat things through.


THE GDC has developed a new mobile


website dedicated to its Standards for the Dental Team.


Dentist can access the new site via mobile phone or tablet and it includes not only the Standards but also the interactive Focus on Standards content which is currently


available on the main GDC site. The mobile site includes case studies, FAQs and guidance to help registrants apply the Standards in practice.


To access the mobile site go to standards.gdc-uk.org


Claire Renton is a dento-legal adviser at MDDUS


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