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General Dental Council

 23 April 2014

Birmingham dentist struck off for misconduct

A dentist has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a public hearing into allegations of misconduct.

The allegations against Omar Narayan (Registration No. 81228) were heard by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee and all relate to his time as a dentist at the Hamstead Dental Practice in Handsworth, Birmingham. Mr Narayan did not attend the hearing and he was not represented.

Among the charges he faced were:

In relation to the dental records of Patient A:

  • He added entries onto Patient A’s original green-coloured private treatment record;
  • He re-wrote the brown-coloured NHS treatment record card containing entries between 7 November 2011 and 9 December 2011;
  • He created the document entitled Assessment of Capacity for Proposed Dental Treatment/Decision.

Mr Narayan’s case was that he amended the records and created the assessment form at the request of Joyce Trail, the Practice owner and Mr Narayan’s employer at the time. He stated that Ms Trail gave him no reason for these requests.

In considering this case, the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee said:

“The Committee is satisfied that Mr Narayan’s dishonest conduct is so serious that it is fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the Dentists Register. For these reasons, the Committee has determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction to protect patients and maintain public confidence in the dental profession, is to erase the name of Omar Narayan from the Dentists Register.”

Unless Mr Narayan, who was immediately suspended, exercises his right of appeal, his name will be struck off the register in approximately 28 days’ time.

23 April 2014

Liverpool man guilty of unlawfully practising dentistry

On 17 April 2014 Frank Mullholland appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to unlawfully practising dentistry contrary to Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists Act 1984.

Mr Mullholland has never been registered with GDC. On 20 February 2014 the 75-year-old Frank Mullholland, who is the sole owner and operator of Frank Mullholland Dental Laboratory 17 Prescot Street Liverpool, was seen holding himself out as being prepared to practice dentistry illegally. Frank Mullholland had been working illegally for many years as an un-registered Clinical Dental Technician from his Dental Laboratory located opposite the Royal Liverpool Dental Hospital in Liverpool, providing dentures and denture repairs to the local community. 

Frank Mullholland was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,290.70 GDC costs and £200 victim surcharge.

16 April 2014

General Dental Council Standards Mobile Site

Dental professionals can now access Standards for the Dental Team on the go.

Having published the new Standards for the Dental Team in September 2013, the General Dental Council (GDC) has developed a mobile site dedicated to the Standards. The mobile site displays the Standards themselves, as well the interactive Focus on Standards content, currently available on the main GDC site. The mobile site is specifically designed for use on a mobile phone or tablet so dental professionals can access the GDC’s Standards and guidance wherever they are.

The mobile site displays the nine key principles of the Standards, which are:

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.

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

The mobile site also enables patients to access the Standards more easily, so they can find out what to expect from their dental professional.

In recent user testing undertaken with GDC registrants, 93% reported they found navigation around the site easy, 97% found that the information on a particular standard was useful and 89% believe they would use it to read up on particular standards or guidance for future reference.

To access the mobile site please visit http://standards.gdc-uk.org

17 March 2014

Work with the GDC to protect patients

The General Dental Council (GDC) is looking to recruit up to 35 Investigating Committee panel members, comprising approximately 13 dentists, 11 dental care professionals and 11 lay members.

The GDC is the regulatory body for dentistry in the UK, and maintains a register of 102,000 dentists and dental care professionals.

The Investigating Committee (IC) plays a critical role in the GDC’s work to protect patients in considering complaints about the fitness to practise of dentists and dental care professionals. Investigating Committee members individually consider significant amounts of written information and evidence and then, as a panel, decide whether a matter should be closed, advice or warning letters issued or the case referred to a Practice Committee.

To be successful as an IC member, candidates will have excellent analytical skills and judgement. They will be able to consider large amounts of information and confidently express their assessment of a case. They will enjoy working as part of a panel, making reasoned decisions with objectivity and integrity.

Anyone who is interested in contributing to the GDC’s role in protecting patients and believes they have the particular mix of skills to be a member of the IC should visit the GDC’s recruitment website, here they will be able to access full information about the roles.

Applications must be made online and through this website. Please call our consultants GatenbySanderson on 0113 205 6090 only if an information pack is required in another format.

The closing date for applications is: Noon on 11 April 2014

A number of existing members have shared their experiences of going through the application process and of being IC members. You can read these here.

February 2014

For the GDC statement on professional indemnity, click here

29 January 2014

Logo

As the UK’s regulator of dental professionals we would urge patients to check their dental professional is registered.

To help raise awareness of the importance of dental regulation, we’ve produced a logo that dental professionals can use on their website and on other materials visible to patients.

It is available in both colour and black and white formats, and can be downloaded from the GDC website

January 2014

London based dental nurse struck off

A dental nurse has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a public hearing into a number of allegations including convictions for theft and failure to declare convictions and cautions.

The allegations against Andrienne Ford (Registration No. 178650) were heard by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) in December 2013.

Among the charges she faced were:

1. On 6th January 1983 she was convicted at Tottenham Magistrates’ Court of theft contrary to section 1 of the Theft Act 1968.

2. On 25th June 1998 she was convicted at Horseferry Road Magistrates’ Court of theft by an employee contrary to section 1 of the Theft Act 1968.

3. On 13 April 1998 she received a caution for an offence of possession of a Class B Drug (cannabis resin) contrary to section 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The full list of charges can be found here.

In considering this case, the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee said:

“You have demonstrated a history of criminal conduct involving dishonesty spanning three decades. You subsequently made a false declaration to the GDC for the purposes of obtaining registration as a dental professional. Your repeated dishonesty and criminal conduct goes to your character and is therefore, in the Committee’s view, very difficult to remedy. Moreover, there is a need to declare and uphold standards within the profession. You have demonstrated repeated conduct which is capable of bringing the profession into disrepute.”

Ms Ford, who was immediately suspended, did not exercise her right of appeal and her name has been erased from the register.

More details can be found on the GDC’s website.

19 December 2014

GDC Launch Public Consultation on CPD

The GDC has launched its public consultation on CPD for the dental team – the consultation is open until 21 March 2014.  To have your say, click here

14 November 2013

Preston based dentist struck off by dental regulator

A dentist has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a public hearing, at which he was neither present nor represented.

The allegation against Artur Wiktor (GDC Registration No. 101199) was in connection to his conviction of one count of attempting to meet a female child under 16 following grooming, contrary to section 15 (1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

On 8 March 2013 Mr Wiktor was sentenced to the following: 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years; notification applies for 10 years; a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for a period of 10 years until further order; and disqualified from working with children indefinitely.

In considering this case, the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee said:

“The Committee has imposed the highest possible sanction in this case, as it is satisfied that Mr Wiktor’s conduct and behaviour are incompatible with professional registration. It is also satisfied that he poses an ongoing risk to the public.”

Unless Mr Wiktor, who was immediately suspended, exercises his right of appeal, his name will be struck off the register in 28 days’ time.

5 November 2013

Unregistered Oxfordshire dentist successfully prosecuted

The UK regulator of dental practice, the General Dental Council (GDC), has successfully prosecuted a woman for the illegal practice of dentistry and the unlawful use of the title Dentist.

Claire Williams failed to appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 4 November 2013, however the case was proven in her absence and she was found guilty of both charges; which are contrary to Sections 38 (1) and (2) and Sections 39(1) and (3) of the Dentists Act 1984.  Ms Williams, who was the sole practitioner at the Old Bakery Dental Practice, Thame Road in Chinnor in Oxfordshire, was fined £1,000, ordered to pay full GDC costs of £1559.15 and a £100 victim surcharge.

Ms Williams was registered with the GDC from 10 January 1980 until her removal on 7 January 2013 for non-payment of her Annual Retention Fee, but despite being removed from the register she continued to practise.

5 November 2013

Updated Scope of Practice now online
The General Dental Council (GDC) has updated its ‘Scope of Practice’ guidance to reflect recent decisions on direct access and the new ‘Standards for the dental team’.

Scope of Practice was first published in 2009 and sets out the skills and abilities which each registrant group should have on qualification; and further skills which registrants in each group may go on to develop during the course of their careers.

The updated version is available on the GDC website and all registrants are urged to download a copy.

Key changes for specific registrant groups include:

Dental nurses:
• amending the wording on the application of fluoride varnish to take account of direct access.

Registrants must only undertake a task or type of treatment or make decisions about a patient’s care if they are sure they have the necessary skills and are appropriately trained and indemnified.

5 November 2013

GDC Statement on CPD for dental professionals

Dental professionals have a duty to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

A primary qualification is only the first step in their education and development which should last throughout their professional life.

The GDC  require all registrants to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) to their maintain registration. This is because they believe CPD makes a contribution to supporting registrants to maintain  Standards and to patient protection.

Anyone intending to restore to the GDC’s registers in the future must also keep doing CPD because they will be required to show evidence of it if they seek to restore.

CPD for dentists and DCPs is defined in law as activity which contributes to their professional development and is relevant to their practice or intended practice.

For full statement and information on Standards, click here

1 November 2013

Unregistered dental therapist prosecuted in South Yorkshire
The UK regulator of dental practice, the General Dental Council (GDC), has worked with South Yorkshire Police to successfully prosecute a case of the illegal practice of dentistry.

Jane Penvose was registered with the GDC as a dental therapist from 1 October 1998 to 6 August 2012. She was removed from the GDC register on 6 August 2012 for non-payment of her Annual Retention Fee.  On 2 September 2013, the GDC received a complaint that Ms Penvose was still practising, despite being removed from the register. It is was then further alleged that she provided her employer with a forged copy of her certificate of registration and a forged copy of her indemnity insurance certificate.  The illegal practice of dentistry is contrary to section 38 (1) of the Dentists Act 1984, and the two counts of fraud are contrary to section 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

On 15 October 2013 she was arrested by South Yorkshire Police and made full and frank admissions to the above offences. Ms Penvose admitted treating more than 3,500 patients, of which around 20 per cent would have been children under the age of 18 years, during the period that she was not registered.  She appeared at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on 1 November 2013 and pleaded guilty to the above offences. She was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.  In relation to the fraud offences, the matter was committed to Sheffield Crown Court for 22 November 2013 for sentence and for an application to be made for confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Unregistered dental technician in Hampshire prosecuted
The UK regulator of dental practice, the General Dental Council (GDC), has successfully prosecuted a non-registrant for illegally practising dentistry.

On 31 October 2013, Trevor Freeman appeared at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to unlawfully practising dentistry contrary to sections 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists Act 1984 and for unlawfully using the title of “dental technician” contrary to sections 39 (1), (2) and (3).  Mr Freeman was fined £265 and was ordered to pay a £26 victim surcharge and £800 towards the GDC’s costs.  The case was brought after Mr Freeman unlawfully practised dentistry at ‘Dentec’ in Fleet in Hampshire on or before 25 July 2013 and at the same time unlawfully used the title of “dental technician”.  Mr Freeman has never been registered with the General Dental Council.

Unregistered Oxfordshire dentist successfully prosecuted
The UK regulator of dental practice, the General Dental Council (GDC), has successfully prosecuted a woman for the illegal practice of dentistry and the unlawful use of the title Dentist.

Claire Williams failed to appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 4 November 2013, however the case was proven in her absence and she was found guilty of both charges; which are contrary to Sections 38 (1) and (2) and Sections 39(1) and (3) of the Dentists Act 1984.  Ms Williams, who was the sole practitioner at the Old Bakery Dental Practice, Thame Road in Chinnor in Oxfordshire, was fined £1,000, ordered to pay full GDC costs of £1559.15 and a £100 victim surcharge.  Ms Williams was registered with the GDC from 10 January 1980 until her removal on 7 January 2013 for non-payment of her Annual Retention Fee, but despite being removed from the register she continued to practise.

1 October 2013

Beautician pleads guilty in tooth whitening case

A beautician has appeared in court in Preston to plead guilty to unlawfully practising dentistry.

Ms Elaine Taylor-Valles is the first person to be successfully prosecuted by the UK’s dental regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC), since the High Court upheld the view that tooth whitening is the practise of dentistry and should only be carried out by dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists, working on the prescription of a dentist.

Ms Taylor-Valles has been given a nine month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £350 towards the GDC’s costs.

On 30 September 2013 she pleaded guilty to the offence of unlawfully practising dentistry, namely tooth whitening contrary to sections 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists Act 1984 and unlawfully carrying on the business of dentistry contrary to sections 41(1) and (1B) of the Dentists Act 1984.

During sentencing at Preston Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Goodwin said:

“I accept that Ms Taylor-Valles had done a teeth whitening course, however she did  not ring the General Dental Council to confirm whether she was allowed to do tooth  whitening.”

The charges relate to incidents carried out between January and March 2012 at 106 Lord Street, 4 Westminster Chambers, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1LF.

The GDC investigated this matter after receiving a complaint from a member of the public about the manner in which her teeth had been whitened. During correspondence with the GDC, Ms Taylor-Valles admitted to being a ‘fully qualified beautician’, a title which is not recognised by the GDC.

 

July 2013 

GDC approves ‘Standards for the Dental Team’  

The General Dental Council (GDC) has published its new ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ which will replace its current Standards Guidance.  All registrants have an individual responsibility to behave professionally and to follow the standards at all times.   The new ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ was approved by Council in June and is now available to view on the GDC website at http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Pages/standards.aspx 

Hard copies are being printed and will be sent to all dental professionals by the end of August 2013.  ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ will be effective from 30 September 2013. If a complaint is made about a registrant it is against the principles in this document that their behaviour/conduct will be measured.  Janet Collins, Head of Standards at the GDC, said:

“Developing ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ has been a lengthy and in-depth process. It’s involved research with patients, input from registrants through workshops, consultation, analysis and finally approval by Council. The aim of increased patient protection has been worth the hard work. The inclusion of patient expectations reaffirm the importance of putting patients’ interests first.”

‘Standards for the Dental Team’ contains nine principles. Each principle includes a set of patient expectations followed by standards and guidance which registrants must follow at all times.

‘Must’ and ‘should’ are used throughout the document and the GDC has made clear what those terms mean.

Other changes include:

  • Standalone principles on communication and personal behaviour;
  • Greater emphasis on softer skills; and
  • New requirements to display indicative prices for treatment.

‘Standards for the Dental Team’ will be supplemented by a number of additional guidance documents which will be available to view online in September.

Problems with e-GDC and ARF Payments (10/7/13)

Please click here for what to do if you are experiencing problems recording your CPD on e-GDC/Direct Debit ARF payments

GDC launches on social media (19/6/13)

As well as recently launching Twitter and Facebook accounts, the General Dental Council (GDC) is further reaching out to patients and registrants with a new ‘YouTube’ channel.

Three videos have already been added to the site explaining the regulator’s work around complaints that go to a full public hearing.

The videos are available to view on the GDC’s ’YouTube’ channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/GeneralDentalCouncil

They aim to:

  • support those witnesses or dental professionals involved in a GDC hearing throughout the different stages of the process;
  • help those giving evidence to explain what is involved; and also
  • explain the part our independently appointed fitness to practise panel members play in our hearings process and how this role helps in providing proportionate and fair regulation of the dental profession.

They can also be viewed on the GDC website or by following the links below:

Further videos on the GDC’s work to protect patients will be made available through the channel on an on-going basis.

CPD quality – GDC calls for information  (28 May 2013)

The General Dental Council has issued a call for information about the quality of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in UK dentistry.

Following feedback that some activity may not meet registrant expectations of quality, the GDC wants to find out more about how CPD is being quality assured.

The GDC’s current requirements for mandatory continuing professional development for dental professionals set out that all verifiable CPD must have quality controls in place.  Registrants must also have documentary evidence that the CPD has quality controls and must make it available to the GDC when asked. This is a legal requirement.

Now the GDC is seeking further input about CPD quality by asking some questions that include:

•    What methods of quality control in CPD in dentistry are in place?
•    What methods of quality control of CPD in dentistry do you believe are most effective at ensuring adequate quality provision?
•    How assured or concerned are you about the adequacy of quality control of CPD?
•    What experience do you have of the provision of verifiable CPD not being of adequate quality in your opinion?
•    What is your belief about the consequences of CPD that is of inadequate quality?

The full call for information can be found on the GDC policy development pages.
Please send written responses to:

CPD Call for Information
General Dental Council
37 Wimpole Street
London
W1G 8DQ

Email: CPDReview@gdc-uk.org

The deadline for responses is Monday 1 July 2013.

The GDC has already issued a statement, in April 2013, calling on:

•    all who provide CPD for dental professionals to ensure they robustly quality assure their CPD products and services and have effective feedback mechanisms in place;
•    the dental CPD industry to be proactive in working together to develop industry-led quality standards to give dental professionals, as CPD consumers, assurances about their products and services; and
•    all registrants, as consumers of CPD, to make careful choices when investing time and money in CPD products and services and to obtain advance assurances as to the quality and value for money.

* * * * *

Tooth whitening is dentistry, High Court confirms (23 May 2013)

The General Dental Council (GDC) welcomes the decision by the High Court that tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry and should only be undertaken by regulated dental professionals.

The High Court ruling came when it overturned a Magistrates’ Court’s decision to acquit Ms Lorna Jamous of the offences of practising dentistry and unlawfully carrying on the business of dentistry when not regulated by the GDC.

On 10 May 2013 judges at the High Court in London convicted Ms Jamous of the two offences.  The case has been remitted to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for sentencing.  Only dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists (working to the prescription of a dentist) can carry out tooth whitening.

• Background to Lorna Jamous case

The GDC alleged she had:

(i) unlawfully practised dentistry, namely tooth whitening, at 88 Fountain Court, Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SU on 27 December 2011 contrary to sections 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists Act 1984; and
(ii) carried on the business of dentistry on or before 27 December 2011 contrary to sections 41 (1) and (1B) of the Dentists Act 1984.

• The Dentists Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence for anyone other than a registered dental professional to carry out dentistry. The GDC is committed to protecting the public by bringing cases of illegal practice to court.

* * * * *

 Three month countdown to end of CPD cycle deadline

On 31 July this year around 40,000 dental care professionals will reach the end of their first five year cycle of continuing professional development (CPD).

By that date they must have completed 150 hours of CPD. This is a legal requirement and registrants will have until 28 August 2013 to declare the hours that they have completed or risk losing their GDC registration.

Why is CPD so important?

The purpose of CPD is to provide high-quality care. It’s very important that the CPD registrants do takes into account the needs of their patients and is relevant to their practice.

CPD is study, training, courses, seminars, reading and other activities which advance the professional development of dental professionals.

Recording and submitting CPD

It is important that registrants keep their CPD records up-to-date and safe, as they may be asked to submit proof and to send in copies of their verifiable CPD certificates. Similarly, CPD records must be kept for a minimum of five years after the end of the cycle in which they were completed, as registrants may be selected for audit.

Anyone can download a recording form from the GDC website.

Update your CPD online

Registrants can keep track of and submit their CPD hours at any time using an eGDC account, but they should also keep a written record of all the CPD that they do.

What is eGDC?

eGDC is a self-service registrant website which allows dental professionals to manage their  registration online. With an eGDC account they can pay their annual retention fee, change their contact details and submit their CPD. Registrants can set up or access their eGDC account by going to our website.

Setting up an eGDC account is simple and fast. To create an account registrants will need their ID verification code and registration number. They will find their ID verification code on recent letters the GDC has sent them, or they can request one when they sign up.

* * * * *

DCPs ‘confident’ in GDC

A survey of more than four thousand of the UK’s dentists and dental care professionals has found that most have confidence in the General Dental Council (GDC) as a regulator.

The GDCs annual registrant survey, which was sent to a representative sample of dentists and DCPs across the UK in November and December last year, asked a range of questions.

This was followed with qualitative research in January and February 2013 – including telephone interviews and focus groups.

Confidence

Confidence in the GDC as a regulator remains stable. 65% of the dental professionals who took part in the survey are confident that the GDC is regulating dentistry effectively.  (29% are not).

There is, however, a decline in confidence in dental regulation overall. About half (48%) thought the level was too much, up by 9% since 2011.

There is some evidence to suggest this is linked to a perception of increased regulatory burden. When asked during the qualitative research, why they thought dental regulation was too great, registrants spontaneously cited other regulators and more specifically inspections.

But this particular decline in confidence in regulation doesn’t seem to be impacting on registrant attitudes to the GDC as a regulator.

52% of dentists and 72% of DCPs are confident in the GDC (40% and 22% respectively are not confident).

Is the GDC in touch with registrants, patients and the public?

The majority of respondents thought that the GDC was in touch with dentists (60%) and patients (56%). However, fewer than half thought the GDC was in touch with DCPs (41%) and the public (49%).

The GDC aims to regulate in a way that is proportionate, accountable, transparent, consistent, targeted and responsive to changing demands, risks and priorities.

Registrants are encouraged to have their say through a number of channels including feedback forms, consultations, events and focus groups. They are also encouraged to keep up to date with GDC news by signing up to its monthly newsletter.

Annual Retention Fee

The survey asked respondents about the level of the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) for Dentists and DCPs.  79% of those dentists who took part in the survey thought that the dentist ARF was too high (£576), this view was only shared by 26% of DCPs – with 49% thinking it was about right.

79% of DCPs and 46% of dentists who took part thought the DCP ARF was too high (£120).

The GDC is currently reviewing the ARF policy to ensure that there is a more transparent and robust basis on which the fee level is set for different registrant groups. You can find the full details of this review here.

* * * * *

GDC calls on CPD providers to ensure quality

The General Dental Council’s (GDC) consultation on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has highlighted some concerns about the quality of certain CPD on offer to dental professionals.

As part of its CPD review the GDC held a four month public consultation between October 2012 and January 2013.

387 responses to the consultation were received from a range of stakeholders, including registrants, postgraduate dental deaneries and professional associations.

The GDC is responding to concerns about CPD quality by calling on providers and the whole dental CPD industry to robustly quality assure their products and services and to develop industry-led standards.

The GDC has also advised registrants to make careful choices about the CPD they do.

A detailed statement, that’s been issued following the CPD consultation, can be found at  http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Revalidation/Pages/default.aspx and includes the following:

The GDC is calling on:

•  All who provide CPD for dental professionals to ensure they robustly quality assure their
CPD products and services and have effective feedback mechanisms in place. Quality
control is a current legal requirement of verifiable CPD;

•  The dental CPD industry to be proactive in working together to develop industry-led quality
standards to give dental professionals, as CPD consumers, assurances about their
products and services;

•  All registrants, as consumers of CPD, to make careful choices when investing time and
money in CPD products and services and to obtain advance assurances as to the quality
and value for money.

The GDC’s proposals for the future of CPD were supported by most respondents, including:

• 77.5% that agreed with the introduction of annual mandatory CPD declarations
• 87% that agreed with maintaining a 5 year CPD cycle
• 83% that agreed with proposed new minimum hours CPD by professional group

* * * * *

GDC Council Member recruitment enters last few weeks

The General Dental Council (GDC) is currently recruiting 11 new Council Members.

From October 2013, the Council will be composed of six lay and six dental professional members.  (This includes a Chair who is already being appointed).

The Council is the governing body of the GDC and applicants need a strong commitment to patient protection and the promotion of confidence in the regulation of dental professionals.

At least one member must live or work wholly or mainly in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more or apply online

The task ahead

The regulation of healthcare professionals in the UK is undergoing major change and Government expectations about regulation are likely to result in significant changes in the way the GDC operates.

Council members will play key roles in the strategic development of the organisation and strategic performance management.

What current Council Members say

Read more about what the role involves from some of the current Members.

 * * * * *

GDC Post-Consultation Statement on CPD

The GDC held a public consultation from October 2012 – January 2013 (4 months) on proposals for the future of mandatory Continuing Professional Development for dental professionals in the UK. They received 387 responses to the consultation and there was significant support for their consultation proposals.

To read the formal  GDC statement following the consultation, click here.

* * * * *

General Dental Council  Statement on PSA Report

The General Dental Council welcomes the findings of an independent inquiry which rejects allegations that the GDC failed in its statutory duties.

The inquiry by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care was conducted in response to concerns raised by the former GDC Chair, Alison Lockyer who stepped down in May 2011. Its report has been published on its website http://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/ today (11 February 2013).

Following a thorough investigation which began in September 2011, the report rejects the allegations made against the GDC and its staff. It found that, while there were weaknesses in the GDC’s governance and fitness to practise processes during 2009 to early 2011, the GDC did not fail patients then, and is on the right track now.

The report states: “We do not consider, based on the evidence, that the GDC has failed or is failing to carry out its statutory functions.” (6.7)

The PSA states that the new executive management team, the new Chair and the Council “are working together effectively to improve the governance and the performance of the GDC”.  (6.13)

The report makes important recommendations for improvements in governance, many of which the GDC has already implemented.

Chair Kevin O’Brien said:

“We welcome the findings of the PSA’s report and the opportunity to draw a line under this matter. We will review all aspects of the report to ensure we are acting on any lessons to be learnt and we are very pleased that the PSA gives a clear endorsement of reforms we have already introduced.  We continue to be focused on our core task of protecting patients.”

No further statement will be made.

* * * * *

 GDC SEEKS CHAIR AND MEMBERS

The UK’s dental regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC), is seeking to appoint a Chair and eleven  members for its Council, the governing body of the GDC, to take office in October 2013.

Chair: Time commitment required will be 2.5 days per week and remuneration is £55,000 per year.

Council Members: Time commitment required will be 36 days per year and remuneration is currently £353 per day, but this is currently under review.

Applicants need a strong commitment to patient protection and the promotion of confidence in the regulation of dental professionals to ensure the GDC continues on its path of continuous improvement.

There will be an equal number of registrant and lay members and the GDC is required to have at least one member who lives or works wholly or mainly in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The task ahead

The regulation of healthcare professionals in the UK is undergoing major change and Government expectations about regulation are likely to result in significant changes in the way the GDC operates. 

Council members will play key roles in the strategic development of the organisation and strategic performance management.

Application process

Expressions of interest can be made to gdccouncilappointments@gatenbysanderson.com

Alternatively you can sign up to the GDC’s monthly newsletter to find out more once the recruitment period opens.

Find out more about the experiences of r current Council members on the GDC website.

The GDC values and promotes diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity for all. All decisions made will be based on merit and the applicant’s ability to meet the candidate specification.

* * * * *

GDC successfully prosecutes tooth whitening company

 The General Dental Council (GDC) has successfully prosecuted Pearl Teeth Whitening Limited – trading as Pearl National – for illegally carrying on the business of dentistry.

On Friday 23 November 2012 a representative of Pearl National pleaded guilty at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court.

The Company was charged under section 43 of the Dentists’ Act 1984, which states:

“A body corporate commits an offence if it carries on the business of dentistry at a time when a majority of its directors are not persons who are either registered dentists or registered dental care professionals.”

It was alleged:

 

  • That Pearl Teeth Whitening Limited (trading as Pearl National), did unlawfully carry on the business of dentistry at various locations in England and Wales between the 17 January 2011 and the 15 May 2012 at a time when a majority of its directors were not and are not persons who are either registered dentists or registered dental care professionals

This is Contrary to Section 43 (1) and (3) of the Dentists Act 1984.

During sentencing, District Judge Bennett said:

“It is clear from their website that Pearl National operated from a large number of locations and from the facts of the case presented to me, that they employed unqualified people to provide teeth whitening to their customers.”

He added that it occurred to him that the company “must have received a lot of money and had never filed accounts at Companies House.”

The court has fined the firm £3,500 and ordered them to pay £4,000 towards the GDC costs.

 

GDC urges you to have your say

 The General Dental Council (GDC) is asking for as many views as possible on its proposed new standards for dental professionals in the UK.

A consultation is currently running and the GDC is keen to hear from as many people as possible before it closes at the end of December 2012.

The new ‘GDC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics’ will be the code of behaviour that all registrants have to agree to abide by when they register with the GDC.

The proposed changes include:

 • Registrants providing private treatment must make sure that a simple list of costs is clearly visible in their reception or waiting area.

• Registrants who employ, manage or lead a team should make sure that team members are given the opportunity to learn and improve.

• Registrants must work with an appropriately trained and registered team member when treating patients.

• Registrants should inform the GDC immediately if they are subject to any criminal proceedings.

 The new standards are centred around patients and what they should be able to expect when they visit a dental professional. They set clear requirements for registrants and give guidance as to how those requirements can be met. If they are approved, they will impact on each and every person on our registers, so it’s important they have their say now.

Have your say here:

http://www.gdc-uk.org/GDCcalendar/Consultations/Pages/Review-of-Standards-Consultation.aspx

New guidance for employers on trainee nurses and technicians

 The General Dental Council has new guidance in place for anyone employing trainee dental nurses or dental technicians.

The previous guidance in this area was put in place during the transitional period for dental care professionals – meaning they could register with the GDC without having a formal qualification. This ran from 31 July 2006 to 30 August 2008.

Since then what was meant by the term “in-training” has been reviewed and new guidance has now been agreed.

Anyone employing trainee or student dental nurses or dental technicians should make themselves familiar with it.

The guidance contains a number of key points, including what defines a student/trainee dental nurse or dental technician:

They are either:

1.         Employed and enrolled or waiting to start on a recognised programme that will lead           to GDC registration; or

2.         Studying on a recognised programme that leads directly to GDC registration.

The full guidance document can be found on the GDC website: http://www.gdc-uk.org/dentalprofessionals/education/pages/dcpsintraining.aspx

 

Employers urged to help remind DCPs about the CPD deadline

 There are now fewer than eight months left until nearly 40,000 dental care professionals (DCPs) will reach the end of their first five year Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle.

 On 31 July 2013 they must have completed 150 hours of CPD. They will then have until 28 August 2013 to declare the hours that they have completed or risk losing their General Dental Council (GDC) registration.

CPD is a legal requirement and employers are being asked to help remind DCPs about it and to help them plan it, do it and log it.

CPD is study, training, courses, seminars, reading and other activities which advance a dental professional’s development. It can be provided in-house by other members of the dental team who are trained and competent in the relevant area.

Why is CPD so important?

 CPD was introduced to ensure that all dental professionals keep their knowledge current, to encourage the development of new skills in order to benefit the care of patients, and to give patients confidence in the profession as a whole. It’s very important that the CPD registrants undertake takes into account the needs of their patients and is relevant to their practice.

To help highlight the importance of remembering the deadline the GDC has produced some posters for use in the workplace. They can be downloaded from the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org

Who’s declared what so far?

 

• 14,586 (37%) DCPs have logged more than the minimum hours (including 50 verifiable);

• 4,425 (11%) DCPs have logged no hours;

• Dental Technicians are currently the least likely to have logged their hours – 22% having not yet declared any.*

*Source – GDC database 29 October 2012

 Have your say

As part of the GDC’s on-going review of its CPD requirements a consultation is currently running asking for views on the proposals to update our mandatory CPD scheme. Anyone wishing to take part should visit www.gdc-uk.org/haveyoursay

 

 

GDC alerts dentists to scanner warning

 The GDC is highlighting a warning from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about a certain type of scanner.

The MHRA has issued an alert about the Tianjie Dental Falcon device. Following tests by the Health Protection Agency it has been shown to lack sufficient shielding in the X-ray tube, which could give rise to high patient doses of radiation.

The General Dental Council is reminding all registrants that its ‘Standards for dental professionals’ says:

 

  1. 1.    Put patients’ interests first and act to protect them.

 

5.4 Find out about laws and regulations which affect your work, premises, equipment and business, and follow them.

More information about this issue can be found here: http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Publications/Safetywarnings/MedicalDeviceAlerts/CON173752?tabName=Problem

If registrants have any further questions they should contact the MHRA.

South East England dentist struck off for poor treatment

 A dentist based in Vauxhall in London and Slough in Berkshire has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a public hearing, which he did not attend, into allegations made about his treatment of six patients and his lack of professional indemnity cover.

 The allegations heard by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee are in connection with incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2011 when Michael Boniface (Registration No. 84898) was practising at Riverside Dental Spa, 5B Hamilton House, St George Wharf, Vauxhall SW8 2LE (the Practice) and Cippenham Dental Centre, 100 Weekes Drive, Slough, SL1 2YP.

The Committee found that, among other things, Mr Boniface had:

 

  • Not obtained informed consent from patients, as he failed to adequately explain to them the prospects of success, alternatives to and risks of, their treatment;

 

  • Carried out inappropriate dental treatment which could not have succeeded;

 

  • Failed to ensure that adequate arrangements were in place for the completion of the treatment of four of the patients when he left the Practice;

 

  • Failed to respond adequately to one patient’s complaint and;

 

Provided dental advice and treatment to patients when not in possession of professional indemnity cover.

The Committee said:

“There were wide ranging failings in Mr Boniface’s treatment of the six patients involved in this case, some of which related to basic areas of clinical practice.

Mr Boniface clearly put his own interests before those of his patients by continuing to practise at times when he knew he did not have professional indemnity cover.”

In all the circumstances the Committee determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was to erase Mr Boniface’s name from the Dentists Register.

Mr Boniface’s registration was immediately suspended and unless he exercises his right of appeal, his name will be erased from the register 28 days from today.

More details can be found on the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org

Ayrshire dentist struck off for serious breaches of conduct

 A dentist based in Auchinleck in Ayrshire has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a public hearing into allegations that he provided a poor standard of care to patients.

 The allegations heard by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee are in connection with incidents that occurred between 1986 and 2011 when Stuart Lennox Craig (Registration No. 57889) was practising at 29 Sorn Road, Auchinleck, Ayrshire.

The case involved 34 patients and the Committee found that, among other things, Mr Craig had:

 

  • Provided fillings when there was insufficient clinical justification in relation to 16 patients;
  • Inappropriately provided crowns for 5 patients;
  • Prescribed three-monthly scale and polishes for 19 patients when it was not clinically justified;
  • Failed to provide a good standard of care or treatment for 16 patients;
  • Put his own financial interests first for 30 patients.

A significant fact underpinning the Committee’s findings in this case is that serious shortcomings were found in the radiographic evidence of 34 patients whose records were selected at random.

In the circumstances the Committee determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction to maintain the standards of the dental profession and public confidence in it, was that of erasure.

Mr Craig’s registration was immediately suspended and unless he exercises his right of appeal, his name will be erased from the register 28 days from today.

More details can be found on the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org

 

GDC makes patient information more accessible

 The General Dental Council (GDC) has launched more accessible versions of its patient information.

 The ‘Smile EasyRead’ patient information leaflet explains the role of the GDC; what patients can expect at their visit to a dental professional; and what they can do if they’re unhappy with their experience.

It features larger font, pictures to support and help explain the text, shorter sentences and language that sounds natural when spoken. The PDF is compatible with screen readers with tagged images and can be printed or ordered from www.gdc-uk.org.  The final version was user checked by the Making it Easier Group which gave its seal of approval to the leaflet.

The GDC established a register of Special Care Dentistry specialists in 2008. Special Care Dentistry is concerned with improving the oral health of individuals and groups in society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or, more often, a combination of these factors.

As well as EasyRead, Smile is available in print in Plain English, online in Welsh, Bengali, Chinese, Punjabi and Urdu, and as online audio files in English.

Dental professionals can also access audio and Large Print versions of the GDC’s ‘Standards for dental professionals’, as well as accessible continuing professional development and employment advice.

You can order free copies of Smile and Smile EasyRead, and download translations and audio files from the GDC website: www.gdc-uk.org

 

Standards and Direct Access – influencing the future of dental regulation in the UK.

Head of Standards at the General Dental Council, Janet Collins, explains why it’s important we all have our say on two key consultations.

 At the moment, patients must be seen by a dentist before being treated by any other member of the dental team. The only exception to this is with clinical dental technicians, who are able to provide full dentures to patients who have no teeth without the need for a prescription.

The GDC has been considering for some time whether to remove the requirement for patients to see a dentist first and to expand ‘direct access’. This would mean that patients could see other members of the dental team, for example a dental hygienist or dental therapist, without seeing a dentist first.

Earlier this year the Office of Fair Trading called for the changes to be made as soon as possible and the Department of Health has welcomed that call.

But even before that, the GDC had set-up a task and finish group to consider evidence and opinion from a number of sources and stakeholders on the possibility of extending direct access.

Research

A range of methods have been used to gather evidence to assist the task and finish group (the Group) in developing its proposals.

In April 2012, the Group commissioned a literature review to establish whether there was any evidence that could be used to effectively demonstrate the likely benefits and risks of introducing direct access into dentistry in the United Kingdom.

The findings of this study concluded that:

 

  • There was no evidence of significant issues of patient safety resulting from the clinical activity of Dental Care Professionals (DCPs).
  • There was evidence that access to dental care improved as a result of direct access arrangements.

 In addition an online questionnaire to gather opinions on the possibilities of direct access proved extremely successful with a total of 840 responses.

Proposal

On the basis of the evidence gathered, we are proposing that registered dental care professionals should have the option to provide direct to patients any care, assessment, treatment or procedure that is within their scope of practice and for which they are trained and competent.

In other words, expanding direct access means that DCPs would be able to offer services to patients without the patient having to see a dentist first. They could carry out screening of various kinds, provide oral health advice and undertake some or all of their scope of practice without prescription.

 Have your say

All of this research has led to the current consultation and we’re encouraging as many people as possible to have their say.

You can read more about the proposals and take part in the consultation by logging on to www.gdc-uk.org

 Standards

The GDC’s ‘Standards for dental professionals’ guidance document was published in May 2005, replacing the guidance document ‘Maintaining Standards’.

At the time the current Standards were published, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists weren’t registered. The needs of these groups and their effect on patient care were therefore not considered in the drafting of the current guidance, although these groups are now required to abide by it.

It was agreed in February 2011 that a Standards Review Working Group should be set-up to:

 

• Consider the evidence from preliminary research; and

• Provide a recommendation on the shape and structure of any new guidance.

Whilst reviewing the standards, the Standards Review Working Group took into consideration evidence from a range of sources including:

 

  • Registrants
  • Patients and the public
  • Fitness to practise panellists
  • Fitness to practise caseworkers
  • The Dental Complaints Service
  • Stakeholders
  • an online call for ideas.

The new Standards are centred around patients and what they should be able to expect. They set clear requirements for registrants and give guidance as to how those requirements can be met. If they are approved, they will impact on each and every person on our registers, so it’s important you have your say now.

Log on to www.gdc-uk.org to take part in the consultation and find out more about what’s in the new draft Standards

 

Your views are needed on changes in dentistry

 

The General Dental Council (GDC) is asking for as many views as possible on three major consultations which could change dental regulation in the United Kingdom.

All dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists have to be registered with the GDC and meet its standards throughout their careers to work legally in the UK.

Direct access

 The GDC is considering removing restrictions that prevent patients seeing any member of the dental team until after they’ve seen a dentist for a referral. (The only exception to this is with clinical dental technicians; they are already able to provide full dentures to patients who have no teeth without the need for a prescription).

This proposed change is called “direct access”. It would mean that registered dental care professionals would have the option to provide services to patients without the patient having to see a dentist first.

Earlier this year the Office of Fair Trading called for the changes to be made as soon as possible and the Department of Health has welcomed that call.

Now the GDC wants to hear from you.

You can have your say on the proposed changes here:

http://www.gdc-uk.org/GDCcalendar/Consultations/Pages/Direct-Access-Consultation.aspx

Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics for dental professionals

At the same time the GDC wants to hear what people think about the new standards it has drafted that all registered dental professionals will have to follow.

These include:

  • Making it clear to patients which treatments can be provided under the health service and those which can only be provided on a private basis;
  • If providing treatment, also making sure that a simple list of costs is clearly visible in a reception or waiting area;
  • Being sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English to communicate effectively with patients, their relatives, the dental team and other healthcare professionals in the UK.

Have your say here:

http://www.gdc-uk.org/GDCcalendar/Consultations/Pages/Review-of-Standards-Consultation.aspx

CPD for assurance of continuing fitness to practise

The GDC already requires registered dental professionals to keep learning and developing throughout their professional lives – this is called Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It’s been a mandatory requirement since 2008 and is currently being reviewed.

The GDC is now proposing a range of changes to CPD requirements as a contribution to assuring the continuing fitness to practise of dental professionals. The public consultation proposals include:

 

  • Developing learning outcomes for CPD linked to the GDC standards;
  • Annual mandatory CPD declarations;
  • Embedding personal development planning into the scheme;
  • New minimum CPD hours requirement.

Alongside the CPD consultation we have also launched a questionnaire aimed at patients, organisations that represent patient interests and members of the public. The questionnaire seeks views on patient expectations of dental professionals and the place of patient feedback.

Have your say here:

http://www.gdc-uk.org/Aboutus/Researchandconsultations/cpdreview/Pages/default.aspx

 What happens next?

The responses to these consultations will be used to inform the GDC’s decisions on these issues. Sign up to the monthly newsletter to keep up to date with developments: www.gdc-uk.org

 

How to find good quality CPD

 

It’s now less than a year until nearly 40-thousand Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) will reach the end of their first five year Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle.

 On 31 July 2013 they must have completed 150 hours of CPD. They will then have until 28 August 2013 to declare the hours that they have completed or risk losing their General Dental Council (GDC) registration.

Why is CPD so important?

 CPD is study, training, courses, seminars, reading and other activities which advance the professional development of dental professionals.

CPD was introduced to ensure that all dental professionals keep their knowledge current, to encourage the development of new skills in order to benefit the care of patients, and to give patients confidence in the profession as a whole. It’s very important that the CPD registrants undertake takes into account the needs of their patients and is relevant to their practice.

CPD Consultation

As part of the GDC’s on-going review of its CPD requirements a consultation has now been launched asking for views on the proposals to update our mandatory CPD scheme. Anyone wishing to take part should visit www.gdc-uk.org/haveyoursay

 Finding good quality CPD – advice for registrants

 The provision of CPD is a competitive business and you are in a strong position as the customer. If you are unhappy with the quality of CPD which you have paid for – or accessed for free – you should send feedback to the provider.

When providing verifiable CPD, providers should be actively seeking feedback anyway, so make the most of this opportunity to get your voice heard.

Reputable companies will respond to feedback and complaints by improving their products and they should value your input.

The GDC does not quality assure any CPD courses.

You can find CPD – both verifiable and general – in all sorts of places:

• Formal courses and lectures;

• In-house team training;

• Study days;

• Educational parts of professional meetings;

• Peer review and clinical audit;

• Distance learning;

• Multimedia learning (for example, web-based learning and using a CD-ROM);

• Staff training in the practice or laboratory;

• Going to educational workshops at conferences;

• Reading journals.

 

Essex-based man pleads guilty to illegally practising dentistry 

The UK regulator of dental practice, the General Dental Council, has successfully prosecuted a man for the illegal practice of dentistry.

On Monday 17 September 2012 Mr Harinder Singh, who works at the Devonshire House Dental Practice, 24a High Street, Brentwood, CM14 4AB, pleaded guilty at Basildon Magistrates’ Court to unlawfully practising dentistry whilst not registered, contrary to Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists’ Act 1984.  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.  Mr Singh has never been registered with the GDC.  He has been ordered to pay a £1400 fine and the GDC’s full costs of £1190.23.

Chief Executive of the GDC Evlynne Gilvarry said:  “Those people who practise unlawfully pose a significant risk to the patients they treat. The GDC is committed to taking action to ensure public safety. I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to others who may be tempted to practise without being registered with the GDC.”

 Mr Singh is employed as Practice Manager at the Devonshire House Dental Practice.

The Dentists Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence for anyone other than a registered dental professional to carry out dentistry. The GDC is committed to protecting the public by bringing cases of illegal practice to court.

 

GDC urges DCPs to plan it, do it, log it!

The General Dental Council (GDC) is urging dental care professionals (DCPs) to keep track of their continuing professional development (CPD) and to ensure they keep hold of any attendance certificates they’ve received.  On 31 July 2013 more than 40-thousand DCPs will reach the end of their first five year CPD cycle. By this date they must have completed 150 hours of CPD. They will then have until 28 August 2013 to declare the hours that they have completed or risk losing their GDC registration.

There are two types of CPD – verifiable and non-verifiable. All DCPs must complete at least 50 hours of verifiable CPD, and a combined total of at least 150 hours, in each cycle.  For CPD to be counted as verifiable it must meet four conditions:

  1. You must get and keep a certificate (or other documentary proof

The activity itself must have:

  1. Concise educational aims and objectives
  2. Clear anticipated outcomes
  3. Quality controls – you should have the chance to give feedback

Why is CPD so important?

CPD is study, training, courses, seminars, reading and other activities which advance the professional development of dental professionals.  The purpose of CPD is to provide high-quality care. It’s very important that the CPD registrants do takes into account the needs of their patients and is relevant to their practice.  As part of the GDC’s on-going review of its CPD requirements a consultation will be launched in late October. It will be asking for views on the proposals for an enhanced scheme of mandatory CPD – anyone wishing to take part should keep an eye on www.gdc-uk.org for more details or sign up to our monthly newsletter via the website. 

Full details of the types of CPD the GDC expects registrants to complete can be found online at www.gdc-uk.org

Dental patients urged to know their rights

The General Dental Council (GDC) has produced a new fact sheet for patients across the UK to help them understand what responsibility their dental professional has to make sure their indemnity or insurance is up to date.  Indemnity and/or insurance is a way for dental professionals to ensure patients have a way to claim compensation if something goes wrong with the treatment they’re having.  The GDC has had measures in place for more than two decades requiring registrants to have adequate indemnity or insurance in place and patients should feel confident asking their dentist or other dental professional about this.

The new fact sheet guides patients through what is expected of their dental professional as well as what to do if something does go wrong.  It is available online here.

Chief Executive of the GDC, Evlynne Gilvarry said:  “We are working to increase the current, substantial protections for patients, by seeking   powers to require proof of insurance or indemnity as a condition of being registered to practise          as a dentist or dental care professional.  We expect to have these powers by October 2013.”  Every time the GDC investigates a complaint about a dentist, it checks that they have adequate and appropriate indemnity or insurance in place – even if the complaint is about something else.  The GDC can stop dental professionals working in the UK if they are found not to have indemnity or insurance and the new powers being sought will mean dental professionals not only have to have insurance before they can practise but declare they have it every year after that.

Registration Renewal

58,346 dental care professionals (DCPs) have renewed their registration with the General Dental Council (GDC).  The annual deadline to pay their retention fee of £120 passed on 31 July 2012.  Being registered with the GDC is a legal requirement for DCPs in the UK. All dental nurses, orthodontic therapists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, dental technicians and clinical dental technicians must be registered.

4,012 DCPs have now been removed from the register. Those who didn’t pay on time, but who wish to return to the register must:

  • complete a form to apply for restoration (this will be sent through the post or can be downloaded at www.gdc-uk.org);
  • have a medical examination and provide a character reference;
  • pay a fee of £144;
  • give evidence that they have completed the required amount of continuing professional development (CPD);
  • if they were practising overseas while off the Register, they must provide a letter of good standing from the relevant authority of the country/state in which they last worked;
  • if they were working in the UK while their name was erased from the Register, they and their employer will need to explain the circumstances in a letter.  If this has occurred they are advised to contact their solicitor or defence organisation before submitting their application.

Further information can be found at www.gdc-uk.org or by calling 0845 222 4141.

2012 DCPs Removed by Type:

SINGLE TITLES  
Dental Nurse 3,423
Dental Hygienist 163
Dental Therapist 48
Clinical Dental Technician 4
Dental Technician 416
Orthodontic Therapist 6

*The numbers in this table do not match the total removals as some registrants may have dual registration.

 

  • The deadline for dentists to pay their ARF remains 31 December each year.

 

tooth whitening

Free copies of the GDC’s patient leaflet “Considering tooth whitening” can be ordered from the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org 

Reporting illegal tooth whitening

If you would like to report someone you believe to be practising illegally you can do so by sending an email to illegalpractice@gdc-uk.org, by calling 0845 222 4141 or by writing to:  Illegal Practice, The General Dental Council, 44 Baker Street, London, W1U 7AL

Oral Cancer: Improving Early Detection

becomes recommended CPD

The General Dental Council (GDC) has confirmed that Oral Cancer: Improving Early Detection is to be included as a ‘recommended’ topic in its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.  At its meeting held on Thursday 17 May members agreed to include the topic until new CPD rules and associated guidance come into force following the current CPD review.

The GDC introduced compulsory CPD for dentists in 2002 and for Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) in 2008.  Whilst the GDC has no current powers to introduce mandatory CPD topics, it has identified some ‘core’ topics that dental professionals should cover as part of their verifiable CPD. They are; medical emergencies, disinfection and decontamination and radiography and radiation protection (or materials and equipment for dental technicians).  The GDC also recommends some subjects that can be completed as verifiable or non-verifiable CPD. They are legal and ethical Issues, complaints handling and, now, Oral Cancer: Improving Early Detection.

CPD is a legal requirement of registration with the GDC and failure to meet the 250 hour requirement for dentists or 150 hour requirement for DCPs in a five year cycle could result in registrants being removed from the register and unable to practise. Registrants can check their cycle dates on the GDC website.

Dental regulator issues tooth whitening reminder

As part of National Smile Month the General Dental Council (GDC) is advising patients not to have their teeth whitened unless a dentist has assessed whether such treatment is right for them.   Tooth whitening can improve the appearance of natural teeth but it is important that patients are fully aware of what to expect and how it can be conducted safely.

Tooth whitening may only lawfully be provided by those who are registered dental professionals; specifically dentists, or dental hygienists or dental therapists working to a dentist’s prescription.  The GDC has successfully prosecuted two cases in the criminal courts in the last 12 months involving individuals who were not registered with the GDC and therefore were not entitled to undertake tooth whitening.  The GDC will continue to prosecute these cases and is reminding patients and the public to alert it to any concerns they may have that tooth whitening is being undertaken unlawfully.

A leaflet is available to download from the GDC’s website offering advice to anyone who is considering tooth whitening treatment www.gdc-uk.org     Download the leaflet.

Reminder for GDC registrants 

Dental professionals are reminded that only dentists, or dental hygienists or dental therapists working to a dentist’s prescription can carry out tooth whitening.  Any GDC registrant who undertakes work for which they are not sufficiently trained and competent risks Fitness to Practise proceedings, which may affect their registration.

Court imposes fine for illegal tooth whitening

A Devon-based, ‘cosmetologist’ has been successfully prosecuted for offering tooth whitening treatment and ordered to pay a total of £1,872.   Tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry and only those registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) may lawfully offer it as a treatment.  On Thursday 22 December 2011 Mr Carl Espano, of 29 Western Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 4RJ pleaded guilty at West London Magistrates’ Court to practising dentistry when not registered with the GDC, contrary to section 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists’ Act 1984.  He has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge. He has also been ordered to pay full costs to the GDC of £857.

Mr Espano, in mitigation for his actions, raised the House of Lords judgement in the case of ‘Optident and Another v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Another (2001) UKHL 32. However, the magistrates’ appeared to give this argument little or no weight when determining his sentenceThe Magistrates told Mr Espano:

“This is a serious offence, particularly for potential victims as you didn’t have any indemnity in place for any damage you might have done to any teeth. In addition, should you have damaged the adult teeth, a patient only has one set. Accordingly we view this as a serious offence.”

 

Quick link to GDC Newsletters:  http://www.gdc-uk.org/Newsandpublications/Newsletters/Pages/default.aspx

GDC seeks to appoint new Quality Assurance Inspectors

The General Dental Council (GDC) is looking to appoint a number of registrant and lay members to its panel of inspectors for pre-qualification education programmes.   All UK courses leading to registration as a dental professional are subject to quality assurance undertaken by the GDC and as such the new inspectors will be involved in looking at a range of education and training programmes.

The GDC is looking for individuals who are committed to ensuring the standards of pre-registration dental qualifications. Registrant inspectors will have experience of dental education and training and lay inspectors will have an understanding of professional practice and regulation.

Applicants will be able to demonstrate sound judgement, impartiality and effective communication skills. They will be asked to commit approximately six days per year to the role.

For more information please contact Ross Scales at rscales@gdc-uk.org or call 020 7887 3849. Application packs can be found on the GDC website www.gdc-uk.org

Download an application pack.

GDC’s Fitness to Practise improvements start to show results

A raft of changes, introduced by the General Dental Council (GDC) to improve the handling of complaints against dental professionals, is already having a positive impact.  Some key measurements show the progress made between 2010 and 2011:

  1. More cases overall, are being concluded – 18% increase (1,415 vs 1,199).
  2. Cases are being investigated more quickly – 11% decrease in the time taken to get a case to Investigating Committee.
  3. The number of cases awaiting a hearing is decreasing – 13.5% decrease in 2011 (164 to 142).
  4. The number of cases awaiting a hearing which have been waiting for longer than 9 months is decreasing – 29% decrease (from 72 to 51)

The aim of the changes, brought in last year, is to improve the quality and speed of complaints handling to ensure patients are protected effectively, and they include:

  • Increasing the number of decision meetings and hearings aimed at clearing a backlog of cases and reducing delays;
  • Fast tracking the most serious cases and dealing proportionately with all other cases;
  • Seeking clinical advice at the outset of particular cases in order to ensure proportionate handling.
Statement to BADN from GDC re Student Dental Nurses

“Thank you for highlighting the need for clarification of the GDC’s advice in respect of the ability of dental nurses to work in between the time that they qualify as a dental nurse and when their registration application is processed.

I would like to take the opportunity to clarify that when a dental nurse qualifies and sends an application to the GDC for full registration immediately, they continue to be regarded as ‘in training’ up to the point that their name is added to the Dental Care Professionals Register.

If somebody changes employer during this window, we continue to regard them as satisfying the requirements of ‘in training’ status provided that they and their employer ensure that they meet all of the criteria pertaining to ‘in training’ status. See our website for more information  http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Education/Pages/dcpsintraining.aspx. If the new employee was working under the supervision of a senior colleague and fulfilled all other aspects of this status, such as undergoing a practice induction, it would not prevent them from using the ‘in training’ status to allow them to continue to work in the short period whilst their application is being processed.

Although I do understand that the uncertainly around this matter is a cause for concern, I would like to note that in cases when dental nurses submit an application which is correctly filled in and contains all supplementary documents, they are normally added to the register within five days. In processing applications as soon as is practically possible, I believe that we are limiting the period of prolonged ‘in training’ status to the minimum.

An important proviso for this advice is that applications must be submitted to the GDC in a timely fashion, essentially as soon as practically possible following qualification in order for us to view them as possessing temporary continued status as “in training”. We would take exception to people attempting to use ‘in training’ status for any longer than this period by failing to submit a registration application for a delayed period of time, and I believe that it is due to our desire to stress this point that some confusion may have arisen in this matter.

I apologise that the member whose comments you have passed on appears to have been misinformed about our view on practising during this period. I am aware that there has been some uncertainty concerning this matter in the past and I will be taking this opportunity to provide our customer facing teams in registration and customer service enquiries with a clear statement on the advice that we should be providing to people in these circumstances.

Thank you for taking the time to raise this matter, and your feedback in letting us know of your member’s experiences is appreciated in assisting our efforts to continuously improve the guidance and service that we provide to them.”

Standards for Dental Professionals

If you are a Registered Dental Nurse, you will have received a copy of the documents listed below – you are strongly advised to read these carefully!

There are six principles around which the guidance is built. These should be at the centre of everything you do as a healthcare professional. They are:

  1. put patients’ interests first and act to protect them,
  2. respect patients’ dignity and choices,
  3. protect the confidentiality of patients’ information,
  4. co-operate with other members of the dental team and other healthcare colleagues in the interests of patients,
  5. maintain your professional knowledge and competence, and
  6. be trustworthy.

Guidance booklets

The core guidance is Standards for dental professionals (2005).   Standards for dental professionals  This booklet and the supplementary documents which support it are not lists of rules about what you should and shouldn’t do. Instead they set out the principles and values that you should work with when making decisions.
The main booklet is supported by additional documents:

Registrant views on CPD – GDC releases findings of survey

The General Dental Council (GDC) has published the findings of its recent survey exploring what registrants, stakeholders and providers think about mandatory Continuing Professional Development.  Almost 6,000 registrants responded to the online survey which was carried out by ERS: Research on behalf of the GDC as part of its wider review of CPD requirements.  Some of the key findings include:

  • Online learning is generally the preferred learning style of over half of all GDC registrants;
  • Dental Technicians find it least easy, compared to other registrant groups, to identify the right CPD for them;
  • 27% of all registrants have never had an appraisal in their current workplace;
  • When compared to other registrant groups, Dental Nurses and Dental Technicians say they find it less easy to be motivated to do CPD;
  • 65% of all registrants generally do CPD outside of working hours;
  • Time and cost are perceived as the greatest barriers to undertaking CPD;
  • 85% of registrants feel they understand the GDC’s current CPD requirements;
  • 26% of registrants want the GDC to be more prescriptive about CPD requirements in the future.

The GDC introduced compulsory CPD for dentists in 2002 and for Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) in 2008. The current requirements for both registrant categories have been in place since 2008 and the GDC felt the time was right to undertake a review.

The full survey can be found here.  The findings of the survey will feed into the on-going review of CPD. Throughout 2012 work will continue with an event for stakeholders in April, development of a CPD model, extensive stakeholder engagement and public consultation. All the details will be available on the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org.  Any new CPD requirements will not be introduced before 2013.

As registered dental professionals, all registrants have a duty to keep their skills and knowledge up to date so they can give patients the best possible treatment and care. Any changes to the GDC’s CPD scheme will have an impact on registrants in the future so they are being encouraged to have their as the review continues.

General comments about CPD can be sent to CPDReview@gdc-uk.org

REGISTRATION WITH THE GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL

From 1 August 2008, all dental nurses working in the United Kingdom must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC). Anyone working as a dental nurse who is not registered with the GDC is working illegally and may be liable to prosecution. Other members of the dental team who employ, or work with, unregistered dental nurses may also be disciplined by the GDC and their own registration may be at risk.

Student dental nurses on an accredited training course are not required to register with the GDC until after qualification, and may only work under supervision of another registrant.

To register with the GDC, click here

In order to find out if you are eligible for registration with the GDC, click here

If you are already registered and wish to update your details on the GDC Register, click here  (remember to contact BADN with the change as well! Contact val@badn.org.uk)

If you were previously registered with the GDC and your registration lapsed for any reason, you will have to apply for restoration to the Register in order to be able to work again as a dental nurse in the UK.  For information on restoration to the Register, click here

For information on the Annual Retention Fee, click here   and to set up a Direct Debit to pay your ARF, click here

To log into your e-GDC account, click here

For information on dental nurse qualifications which are approved for registration, click here

For information on dental nurses “in training” (ie student dental nurses), click here

For information on the CPD requirements, click here

For information on Standards for Dental Professionals, click here

For information on Scope of Practice, click here

For information on Fitness to Practise, click here

For GDC latest news and press releases, click here

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