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GDC’s new standards ‘not clear enough’

New standards for dental teams set out by the General Dental Council (GDC) are being accused of not being clear enough.

The Campaign for Administrative Standards and Professional Education for Receptions and practice managers (CASPER) says the GDC’s standards do not provide sufficient guidance on what is to be deemed appropriate training and qualifications for unregistered members of the dental team.

Speaking to Dentistry, CASPER spokesperson Glenys Bridges said: “The standards also highlight that the public expects that all members of the dental team should be properly trained, but then falls short of defining this terminology for non-registrants.”

The GD states that it makes Continuing Professional Development (CPD) a requirement of all dental professionals’ registration with them. It goes on to explain CPD helps maintain public confidence by showing dental professionals are staying up to date.

New standard 7.3 rules that dental professionals must update and develop their professional knowledge and skills throughout their working life. However, members of the dental team with non-registered roles are not obliged to undertake CPD and it is here where a grey area develops according to CASPER.

Ms Bridges continued: “Clinical staff know clearly what qualifications they require to undertake various procedures, but the rest of the team are very much in the dark.”

The first full CPD cycle between 2008 and 2013 saw dental professionals needing to complete 150 hours of CPD in order to fulfil the GDC’s requirements or risk losing their registration. Over 35,000 dental care practitioners have declared they met those standards in that time. Nearly 2,000 failed to declare compliant hours.

CASPER is now calling on dental team members, organisations and training companies to get in touch over what they consider appropriate training and qualifications for non-clinical dental staff. The group says it will agree an action plan shortly.

The new standards will take effect from September 30th, after being approved by the GDC in June. The standards will replace the current standards guidance and appropriate statements except for scope of practice.

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