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GDC introduces new dental standards

The General Dental Council (GDC) has rolled out new guidance that put an increased emphasis on ensuring patients get the care and treatment they require.

Standards for the Dental Team, which comes into force on September 30th this year, was approved in June and will replace all existing regulations.

It includes nine core principles, outlining patient expectations in each case and what dentists much do to ensure these are met. 

One issue raised in the new guidance is the need for clear displays indicating pricing for each type of treatment – something surgeries can achieve through the use of new dental marketing products such as wall charts, signs at reception printed literature like leaflets or brochures.

Among the other issues outlined are a need for for increased emphasis on using ‘soft skills’ when speaking to patients – such as those who may be nervous about undergoing dental treatment – and new principles covering communication and personal behaviour.

Head of standards at the GDC Janet Collins said putting the new code of practice together “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 [the] Council,” she remarked, adding the inclusion of new measures to protect patients has been “worth the hard work” and reaffirms “the importance of putting patients’ interests first”.

Hard copies of the new guidance will be delivered to dental surgeries by the end of next month, but it is available to view on the GDC’s website now and dental professionals may want to read them as soon as possible to ensure they are prepared for the forthcoming changes. Additional guidance will also be published online when the standards come into force in September.

The GDC is responsible for registering qualified dental professionals, investigating complaints, monitoring quality standards and enforcing its code of practice. Should it receive a complaint from a patient, it uses these standards documents as a measure of whether the dental professional’s behaviour or conduct was unacceptable.

Posted by Yvonne Wallace

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