The standards that dentists need to set, achieve and maintain for themselves are spelled out clearly by the General Dental Council. We are keen to help and support dentists in their quest to keep up their high professional standards – and this post offers a quick refresher of the expectations laid out by the GDC in ‘Standards for the Dental Team’.
Standards for the Dental Team
The GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team applies to people in the following seven roles:
- Dental hygienists
- Dental nurses
- Dental therapists
- Dental technicians
- Clinical dental technicians
- Orthodontic therapists
Each of these people is expected to abide by the nine key principles set out by the Standards.
- Put patients’ interests first
- Communicate effectively with patients
- Obtain valid consent
- Maintain and protect patients’ information
- Have a clear and effective complaints procedure
- Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests
- Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills
- Raise concerns if patients are at risk
- Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession
Let’s explore each of these in a little more detail to look at what they mean in practice.
Put patients’ interests first
Putting the interests of patients first means listening to what they have to say, taking into account their concerns and preferences and acting with honesty, respect and integrity at all times. It also means reflecting the culture and values of the individuals in your care as a dentist, making reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities too. It also means providing a safe and clean environment for treatments – and putting the needs of patients before financial considerations.
Communicate effectively with patients
This standard outlines that patients need a full and clear explanation of their treatment plan – before, during and after any procedures are carried out – so they are fully aware of the care they are receiving. They should also understand the cost implications of the work they are receiving.
Obtain valid consent
After you have communicated the care you intend to provide to a patient it is vital to obtain their permission to carry this out. (Check out our full guide to patient consent here)
Maintain and protect patients’ information
The records of patients need to be safely stored and kept confidential. They also need to be up to date, clear and accessible.
Have a clear and effective complaints procedure
Patients need to be able to expect that their complaints will be handled properly – and that they will be listened to if they raise any issues regarding the care that they have received. As a DDO set up by dentists for dentists, DDS is able to work closely with you to ensure that this is the case.
Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests
This outlines the importance of working together as a dental team – and for each member of the dental team to know their role and where they fit in the team.
Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills
Dentists need to be trained and qualified and to regularly refresh their skills and knowledge of the latest laws and working practices.
Raise concerns if patients are at risk
Dentists have a duty to raise any concerns they might have over – a fellow member of the team, the environment they are working in or the welfare of a vulnerable patient.
Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession
Dentists also need to behave in a way that gives patients trust and confidence both in you as a professional and in dentistry as a profession. This needs to be done by maintaining professional behaviour at all times.
To download the full ebook – and for more details of Standards for the Dental Team – visit the GDC’s website.
If any dentist has any questions or queries about how to abide by the standards, get in touch with DDS today and we would be happy to help.