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GDC Gazette

Online

Honest Specialist Responsible

Clarify

Guidance Legal

Registration

GDC

Online

Statements Promotion Current Truthful Goody bags Accurate Content Procedures Success Honest

Pens

Honest

Stationery

Intention

Promotion

Current

Business cards

Hand-outs

Information

Promotion Responsible

Ethical

Qualification

Description

Guidance

Advice

Specialist

Legal Ethical Truthful Advertising Professional Claims

Misleading

Accurate

Current

Statements

Website

Procedures

Honest

Truthful

Clarity

Location

Careful

Wording

Misleading

Legal

Relevant Registration

Content

Truthful

Information

Specialist

www.gdc-uk.org

The magazine for the dental team Spring 2012

New guidance on ethical advertising

cards

Guidance

outs

formation

Promotion Responsible

Ethical

Claims

M

escription

Current

Help us quality assure training providers 16

W

curate

Honest

long-term change 8

ualification

Website

Procedures

Location Our aims for

Registrant inspector Truthful recruitment

Clarity

Registration Don’t fall behind case handling

the GDC

Careful

Statements

Fitness to practise

Relevant CPD countdown Changes to 4

Content About •Legal

isleading

Education and learning

Truthful

Information • •

Specialist

How it affects you and your practice 6


GDC Gazette

• Welcome

• Contents

First word

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his issue marks a major milestone for the GDC Gazette, as for the first time, we are sending out copies online as well as through the post. By reducing the amount we spend on printing and posting the Gazette, we can make sure we’re using our resources wisely, and give you the choice of hearing from us in the way you find most convenient. If we have an email address for you, you should have received a message with a link to the Gazette on our website. The message will also ask you whether you want to receive future Gazettes in this way, rather than in the post. We know that not everyone has easy access to a computer and that some people simply prefer to read a magazine in print rather than on a screen. If you’d like to keep receiving the Gazette by post, you do not need to do anything at this stage – it will keep arriving through your letterbox. If we do not have an email for you yet and you would like to make the most of our online services, please sign up to eGDC. Many registrants already use eGDC to keep their details up to date, pay their ARF and log their CPD. For more regular updates, we also have a monthly e-newsletter, visit our website to sign up.

Standards •Updating our Standards

4 New guidance on ethical advertising 6 Stay on top of GDC news If you don’t want to wait for news from the GDC, visit our website and sign up for RSS feeds.

•CPDRegistration survey results CPD countdown

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to Practise •NewFitness partnership for case handling

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in touch •WeGet answer your questions

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• Dental Complaints

Service

A route to resolution

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Conduct cases •Conduct case files

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Learning points and guidance from conduct cases Case listings Conduct cases: 27 August to 1 March 2012

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Council meetings 2012 Our Council meetings are held at our Wimpole Street offices in London and you are welcome to attend. Please get in touch if you would like to come along; you’ll find our contact details below. Thursday 17 May Thursday 27 September Thursday 6 December

GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL, 37 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8DQ All information correct at the time of publication. To share your views, or request a large print version, please contact information@gdc-uk.org or call 0845 222 4141

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Spring 2012

Look out for these symbols next to articles to see which might be most relevant to you: GDC Gazette is published and produced by the General Dental Council.

Learning points

Dentists

DCPs

GDC does not represent, warrant, or endorse and accepts no liability for any comments or opinions expressed by external individuals or organisations that may be published in the GDC Gazette from time to time. Any such comments or opinions made by third parties do not necessarily reflect General Dental Council policy and may not be the opinions of the GDC, its employees or partners. Such comments or opinions should not be construed as legal, medical or other advice or guidance and any reliance on such comments or opinions is entirely at your own risk. Nothing shall relieve GDC of any liability for death or personal injury caused by its negligence.


www.gdc-uk.org

• Events

• The bigger picture

Your voice in our work

Welcome to our new registrant Council Member

It is essential for us to gain insights into your experiences as dental professionals to ensure our work is relevant, focused and reflects current practice.

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n the last few months we have heard from hundreds of registrants across the UK. We want to thank those who turned out to our events in Bristol, Derry / Londonderry, Glasgow and Deganwy Quay, near Llandudno. The events were an opportunity to find out views on our reviews of ‘Standards for dental professionals’, our continuing professional development scheme and most recently our Fitness to Practise processes. We have also been to the British Medical Dental Careers fair in Glasgow, The Dentistry Show in Birmingham and the BDA Conference in Manchester – answering questions and listening to feedback. Coming up, we’ll be attending the Dental Technology Show on the 18 and 19 May. We will let you know about events happening later this year on our website and in future issues of the Gazette.

“The workshop was very good. I now understand Fitness to Practise procedures much better.” Bristol delegate “The event was a good way to listen to other dentists’ points of view. It was my first workshop, and I found it very helpful.” Derry / Londonderry delegate

Dental Complaints Service It’s important for us to reach members of the public too. This is why the Dental Complaints Service went to the Vitality Show in London, the UK’s largest health and wellbeing event. There was a clear emphasis on encouraging better communication between private patients and dental professionals – a key theme in many of the complaints which reach the DCS. We hope that by educating patients and giving them greater confidence to speak up when they do not understand, we can help build stronger and more trusted patient-professional relationships. l Find out more about how the DCS can help resolve complaints about private dental treatment for free at www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk

Dentist Paul Averley, was officially appointed a Council Member with effect from 1 February 2012. Paul Averley is a primary care general dental practitioner based in Billingham on Teesside. For the last 15 years Paul has been involved in establishing conscious sedation services in primary care to reduce dependency on hospital based general anaesthesia. Paul has been involved with drawing up national guidance on conscious sedation, working with both a Standing Dental Advisory Committee working party on Conscious Sedation and more recently a

Guidance Development Group for NICE. Paul was appointed following a nationwide recruitment exercise conducted by the Appointments Commission.

New Learning Outcomes published We have recently published our new Learning Outcomes guidance, which outlines the skills and experience all members of the dental team should have on registration. The guidance is designed to make it simpler for training and education providers to develop curricula that will give registrants the ability to meet our standards. l You can download a copy of the guidance from www.gdc-uk.org/ newsandpublications

On the move? Have you kept us up to date? It is a requirement of your registration that you tell us about any changes to your registered name, address or other contact details. You could miss out on vital information from us if you forget to keep us updated. Remember, the registered address you use will be available to the public online on our registers. To update your record: • Register or log in to eGDC • Email your new details to registration@gdc-uk.org • Download a change of address form from www.gdc-uk.org • Write to us.

information@gdc-uk.org

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GDC Gazette

• Registration CPD Countdown – don’t risk your registration

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very registrant must almost 6,000 registrants have complete continuing not made any annual CPD professional development declarations. You can use (CPD) to stay registered. your eGDC account to do In July 2013, 41,500 dental care this at www.egdc-uk.org professionals reach the end of or download a form from their five year cycle and should www.gdc-uk.org; have completed 150 hours of Be honest with yourself – CPD, including at least 50 hours of acknowledge any shortfall verifiable CPD, over those five years. in hours; If you are one of these DCPs it Talk to your colleagues – they is now time to make sure you are may have tips on finding good organised and ready to show you quality CPD; have met our requirements. If you Keep certificates, logs and fail to meet these requirements you other evidence – as you may risk losing your registration and not be subject to audit at the end being allowed to work. of your cycle; Read our guidance – it is Checklist available online or you can Know your cycle start and order a copy through the post; end dates by checking the Get advice – we are happy to table below; help you if you have questions Log the hours you have done or need advice. Email so far – it makes it easier to information@gdc-uk.org plan ahead. We know that or call 0845 222 4141 DCP CPD cycle start dates When you registered On or before 31 July 2008

CPD cycle start date 1 August 2008

CPD cycle end date 31 July 2013

Between 1 August 2008 and 31 July 2009

1 August 2009

31 July 2014

Between 1 August 2009 and 31 July 2010

1 August 2010

31 July 2015

On or after 1 August 2010

1 August after following your first registration

Five years after your start date

Managers and employers Do you employ or lead a team of DCPs? Do you know how your team is meeting our requirements for CPD? Are you able to provide in-house CPD? l You can find more advice about this by visiting www.gdc-uk.org and searching for ‘CPD’.

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Research into attitudes towards continuing professional development l To read the full research report and to find out more about our CPD review process please visit our website, www.gdc-uk. org

53% 70% 64% 45% 48%

Continuing professional development (CPD) is one way in which registrants can make sure their skills and knowledge are kept up to date throughout their career. Last year we started a review of our current CPD requirements to make sure they continue to support registrants in practising in accordance with our standards. We want to understand how registrants approach their CPD and what motivates them in their ongoing learning and development. ERS Research surveyed registrants’ views and a random representative sample of almost 6,000 registrants took part in the survey.

of registrants do CPD outside of work time. of registrants pay for their CPD themselves. said they would do CPD even if the GDC did not require it. found it easy to find CPD that met their needs. found it easy to find the motivation to do CPD. The findings also tell us how members of the dental team perceive and engage with CPD. Dental nurses and dental hygienists were most likely to prefer online CPD, while dentists were least likely to use this approach. We also found that dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists and clinical dental technicians found it easiest to find CPD to meet their needs and dental technicians were least likely to find it easy. All the research findings, as well as feedback from registrants and other stakeholders, are being used to inform the CPD review.


www.gdc-uk.org

• Standards

• The bigger picture

Shaping new Standards

GDC begins referrals to vetting and barring schemes

Regulation of health and social care professions – have your say

As part of our statutory obligation, we are referring cases to the Independent Safeguarding Authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Disclosure Scotland. We have a legal obligation to refer relevant information about registrants in confidence. Under the legislation, all adults receiving healthcare count as vulnerable adults while receiving that care e.g. while in the dentist’s chair. l Visit www. isa.homeoffice. gov.uk or www. disclosurescotland. co.uk or speak to your indemnity provider.

The Law Commission is asking health professionals for their views on how healthcare regulation can be made clearer, simpler, and more modern. It wants to enable regulators to set appropriate standards of education, conduct and practice and support patient protection and accountability. All responses are welcome, and you can comment on all or just part of the proposals. l The consultation is open until 31 May; visit www.lawcom. gov.uk to find out how you can take part.

We are reviewing our guidance – find out what’s happened so far, and how it affects you.

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tandards for dental professionals is our core guidance which lays out the six key principles that you agree to abide by when you register with us. We expect you to use your judgement to make decisions in light of the principles and apply them to your daily work. If your behaviour is called into question, we will compare your conduct with the principles laid out in this guidance. We are reviewing our ‘Standards for dental professionals’ and we are on track to publish new Standards in the spring of 2013. We have been gathering evidence to help us understand the themes surrounding this important work. This has included patient research, registrant events, a survey and events for employers and advisers of registrants, such as your indemnity providers. Key issues raised by all of these groups include the importance of trust and communication. We have now drafted a new format for the Standards and begun work on the content, which takes the feedback we have received into account. What happens next? As with earlier stages of this work, we are gathering more information. We have already held a number of registrant events asking for comments on the new format and content and over the next few months we will carry out further research. A consultation is planned for the end of the year and we want to hear from as many people as possible during this time.

Any changes we make to the Standards will have a direct impact on your work, so it is very important that you get involved. You will be able to have your say by visiting our website. What about ‘Scope of Practice’? Last year we asked registrants for their views on the current ‘Scope of Practice’ document and established a working group including representatives from all the professional bodies. It has been decided that ‘Scope of Practice’ should be considered alongside other policy issues such as our review of Standards and direct access. The previous ‘Scope of Practice’ work will now be taken forward by our Policy Advisory Committee. Further updates will appear in the Gazette. The current version of the ‘Scope of Practice’ document still stands and is the version that should be used at present. You can download the guidance from our website at or request a copy by calling 0845 222 4141. Direct access We are planning a consultation over the issue of direct access to certain groups of dental care professionals this year, and we welcome your views. We will keep you updated on the consultation via our website.

Updates from the Chief Dental Officers England The spring update from Barry Cockcroft, Chief Dental Officer for England, is now available online. Visit www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/03/cdo-updatespring to read more. Northern Ireland Information from Donncha O’Carolan, Chief Dental Officer for Northern Ireland, including policy documents and press releases can be found at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/pgroups/dental/dental.asp Wales The next issue of the Wales Dental Digest, issued by David Thomas, Chief Dental Officer for Wales, will be published at the end of May. Visit wales.gov.uk and search for ‘Chief Dental Officer’ to read the latest digest and find out more. Scotland We will include an update from Margie Taylor, Chief Dental Officer for Scotland in our next Gazette.

information@gdc-uk.org

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GDC Gazette

Online

Honest Specialist Responsible

Clarify

Statements Promotion Current Procedures Success

Guidance

Honest

Content

Online

Truthful Goody bags Accurate

Pens

Honest

Stationery

Promotion

Current

Business cards

Hand-outs

Guidance

Advice

Specialist

Legal Ethical Truthful Advertising Professional Claims

Misleading

Information

Promotion Responsible

Ethical

Statements

Current

Truthful Qualification

Honest

Legal

Careful

Wording

Accurate

Location

Description

Registration

Intention

The new guidance took effect on 1 March 2012. Full details can be found at www.gdcuk.org

Misleading

Procedures

Website

Relevant

Clarity

Standards Specialist

Content

Truthful

Information

Specialist

• Standards

Registration

Legal

New guidance on GDC New ethical advertising Guidance Confused about what you can and can’t say when advertising? Find out how our standards on ethical advertising and specialist titles will affect you.

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here’s nothing wrong with trying to attract new patients or using advertising to grow your business. But every year we hear a large number of complaints about advertising, which indicates that some patients are being misled. That’s why we have published new guidance to clarify what you should and should not say when advertising your services, in print and online.

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What does the guidance mean for me? Advertising services “Whenever you, your practice, or any place where you work as a registrant, produce any information containing your name, you are responsible for checking that it is correct.” If you are alleged to have made misleading claims,

you may have to justify your decisions to the GDC through our Fitness to Practise procedures. As a professional, you are responsible for information which mentions your name, and should make sure that it is accurate and honest. You must: • Ensure information is current and accurate • Make sure that your GDC registration number is included


www.gdc-uk.org

• Use clear language that patients are likely to understand • Back up claims with facts • Avoid ambiguous statements • Avoid statements or claims intended or likely to create an unjustified expectation about the results you can achieve. Specialist titles “Only those dentists who are on one of the 13 specialist lists held by the GDC may describe themselves as being a ‘specialist’, or describe themselves as a ‘specialist in...’.” “Dentists who are not on a GDC specialist list should not use titles which may imply specialist status such as Orthodontist, Periodontist, Endodontist etc.” In issuing the new guidance we have taken the opportunity to clarify our view that you cannot use the titles ‘specialist implantologist’ or ‘specialist in implantology’ as there is no specialist list for that field. “There are no specialist lists for dental care professionals. DCPs should make sure that they do not mislead patients by using titles which could imply specialist status, such as ‘Smile specialist’ or ‘Denture specialist’.” Dental care professionals must not imply they have specialist status by using a title with ‘specialist’ in it when advertising or describing their services as there are no specialist lists for dental care professionals. The internet One of the most common ways to advertise any type of service these days is on the internet, and our guidance goes into some detail about how websites should be maintained and updated. In line with European guidance, all dental professionals providing dental care mentioned on a website must display: • Their professional qualification and the country from which

that qualification is derived • Their GDC registration number. In addition, dental practice websites must display: • The name and geographic address at which the dental service is located • Contact details including email address and telephone number • The GDC’s address and contact details, or a link to the GDC website • Details of the practice’s complaints procedure and information about who patients may contact if they are not satisfied with the response (i.e. the relevant NHS body for NHS treatment and the Dental Complaints Service for private treatment) • The date the website was last updated. The information on your website should be updated regularly to accurately reflect the people working at the practice and the services offered. A dental practice website must not compare the skills or qualifications of any dental professional providing any service with the skills and qualifications of other dental professionals. Out of date information on a website is sometimes used by dental professionals to excuse misleading or inaccurate advertising. This is not acceptable – you are responsible for the information that appears online about you, even if you are not directly responsible for managing your practice’s website. The duty of all dental professionals is to put their patients’ interests first. This means never making claims which could mislead patients. This new guidance will help to make sure that patients’ basic right to clear, accurate information is protected and that dental professionals have helpful guidance to assist them with ethical advertising.

Specialist titles: How the guidance effects you YES

NO

Mr A, specialist periodontist (if you are on the specialist list)

Mr A, specialist periodontist (if you are not on the specialist list)

Mr A, dentist experienced in implants (specialist list irrelevant)

Mr A, specialist implantologist (as there is no specialist list for this title)

Miss B, dental nurse with special interest in sedation (specialist list irrelevant)

Miss B, specialist sedation nurse (as there is no specialist list for DCPs)

Mr A, practice limited to cosmetic dentistry (specialist list irrelevant)

Mr C, specialist denturist (as there is no specialist list for DCPs)

The duty of all dental professionals is to put their patients’ interests first.

Don’t forget to check the information on your: Stationery Website Business cards Advertising Hand-outs and goody bags Promotional items, like pens and stickers

information@gdc-uk.org

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GDC Gazette

• Fitness to Practise

Fit for practice and fit for purpose

Key improvements for Fitness to Practise Number of cases awaiting a hearing:

Key measures aimed at improving our Fitness to Practise processes are already showing results and there are more changes coming.

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ver the last year we have implemented key changes aimed at strengthening our Fitness to Practise (FtP) processes. We are already seeing demonstrable improvements; cases are being heard more quickly, and the backlog of cases has fallen substantially. Last year, the number of cases which were concluded rose by 18%, to 1,415. We also saw an 11% fall in the time taken for cases to be heard by the Investigating Committee, and the number of cases awaiting a hearing fell by 13.5%.

Key developments Improving case-handling This year, we began working with dental advisors from the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS). NCAS provides advice on understanding, managing and preventing performance concerns. By working with NCAS we will be able to seek clinical advice at a much earlier stage, enabling us to decide on an appropriate course of action. NCAS advisers are qualified dental professionals who are able to provide expertise about clinical matters, to help us to make an informed decision about whether the case requires further investigation, or should be concluded. The new process will also

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mean dental professionals are told sooner that a complaint has been made against them, so they can provide records and relevant information to us at an earlier stage. Cases will receive the same level of scrutiny, as making a decision still rests with us, but by including NCAS in the initial stages, we can make sure our conclusions are informed by current clinical practice. Case examiners This year we have also been consulting with registrants, professional associations, indemnity providers and the public to hear their views on proposals to strengthen our FtP processes. The proposed changes are part of our continuing efforts to improve the FtP system. One of the proposed changes is the introduction of FtP case examiners. After a case has been assessed by a caseworker, case examiners, including dental professionals and lay people, would be able to make decisions about the outcome of cases. This could include concluding a case without further action, issuing an advisory or warning letter, or referring a case to the Performance, Conduct or Health Committee. Case examiners would not replace the Investigating Committee, but we expect that over time there would be a

Fitness to Practise cases are being heard more quickly, and the backlog of cases has fallen substantially over the last year.

164

142

2010

2011

13.5%

significant reduction in the number of cases referred. These changes are part of our long-term aims to ensure effective investigations and support patient safety, which would require an amendment to the law. The aim of this new role would be to ensure that we are able to apply a tailored approach according to the seriousness of cases and prioritise our resources appropriately. What does this mean for you? We want to ensure that our Fitness to Practise procedures are fair, consistent, and balanced. If we need to contact you to ask for your input to a case – whether as a complainant, witness or to answer a complaint against you, your cooperation and support is vital to help us resolve cases efficiently and ensure that the new process is successful. We will continue to keep you updated on both the immediate changes we’re making, and our longer term plans for the future.


www.gdc-uk.org

Number of hearing days scheduled:

Cases being concluded:

1,199

1,415

18%

“The changes we are making to our Fitness to Practise are all aimed at improving the quality and speed of complaints handling to ensure patients are protected effectively.” Neil Marshall, Director of Regulation

Perspective 196

2006

565

Neil Marshall Director of Regulation

188%

2010

2010

2011

Our long-term ambitions for patient safety We have made a large number of operational changes to our processes with the aim of improving our performance including: • an increase in the number of Investigating Committee meetings from three to four a month • more initial case assessments • increased administrative support for caseworkers • a new process for handling complaints about the fitness to practise process • a better structure for performance management of cases • a new protocol to seek health reports on behalf of registrants who have a conviction for drink driving or drug use • an escalated procedure for gathering information from third parties to reduce delays

• a new system of internal quality assurance in relation to each decision point in the fitness to practise process and also, casework administration • the introduction of a triage system where new complaints are assessed against specific criteria to ensure that caseworkers only deal with cases that are appropriate for a regulator and which question a registrant’s fitness to practise.

We will keep you updated with all Fitness to Practise processes and operational changes.

“The changes we are making to our Fitness to Practise processes are all aimed at improving the quality and speed of complaints handling to ensure patients are protected effectively. This arrangement with NCAS will be key to making sure there are no unnecessary delays in assessing the clinical aspects of cases.” Professor Pauline McAvoy Interim Medical Director NCAS “NCAS has significant expertise in the field of practitioner performance, and we are delighted to be able to use our expertise to support the GDC in this important area of their work.”

information@gdc-uk.org

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GDC Gazette

• Get in touch We answer thousands of calls and emails every month. If you’ve got a question about registration or our standards guidance get in touch – we may even print your query to help others in similar situations.

 ral hygiene O and brushing teeth Can dental nurses brush a patient’s teeth, either as a demonstration or as part of ongoing oral care? Alison Ash-Wilson Dental hygienist A dental nurse’s scope of practice includes ‘further skills in oral health promotion and oral health education.’ Provided a dental nurse has had the appropriate training, they are able to carry out full brushing on patients for demonstration purposes, and explain to patients or carers how to maintain good oral hygiene.

Informed consent What should I do if I need to vary a patient’s treatment plan during a course of treatment? Dentist, name withheld

Using eGDC I’m trying to sign up in to eGDC, but I don’t know my ID verification code – how do I get one? We regularly hear from registrants who are having trouble logging into eGDC. You can find your ID verification code on your annual retention fee notices and continuing professional development letters. (This is the same ID verification code you use when paying your annual retention fee via our

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automated payment phone line.) If you do not have a code or have lost it, you can easily request a new one. Just click ‘sign up’ at the bottom of the eGDC log in page, then click on ‘request ID verification code’ and it will be sent to you by post or text message. We will ask you for other information to sign up for eGDC for the first time – your surname, registration number and an email address. We will then email you a temporary password so you can log in.

Email us with your views and questions to information@ gdc-uk.org or write to us at 37 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8DQ.

If you need to make a change to a patient’s treatment plan, you should explain the situation to the patient, making it clear why the treatment is necessary, whether the treatment is NHS or private, the risks and benefits of the treatment, and any extra costs involved, and give them an amended written treatment plan and estimate. Informed consent means the patient has enough information to make a decision, so take the time to answer all their questions and make sure they’ve understood the information you’ve given them.


www.gdc-uk.org

• Dental Complaints Service learning The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) provides a complaints resolution service for private dental patients and dental professionals. It offers an alternative route to resolution that is fair and balanced, and works with patients and professionals to reach a solution. The DCS hears a wide range of complaints, but there are some common themes that can provide insight into ensuring good patient care. Here we describe some of those issues and what you can do to prevent them affecting your patients, colleagues and you.

Complaints handling Patients may make a complaint because their expectations of a good level of service or treatment outcome have not been met. Handling their complaint professionally means a patient is less likely to seek to escalate their complaint. Make sure your colleagues are aware of and understand the complaints procedure, and know how to respond if a patient expresses dissatisfaction with any element of their treatment. If you receive a complaint, acknowledge it quickly and let the patient know about your complaints policy and when they can expect to receive a response from you. If you’re unsure about how to respond to a complaint, you can speak to your dental defence association or (for private dentistry) the Dental Complaints Service for advice. You can also order free copies of our complaints handling guidance and Dental Complaints Service leaflets from www.gdc-uk.org or by calling 0845 222 4141.

Case file Complaints handling In brief: Respond to complaints in a constructive way, and keep lines of communication open. The majority of complaints made to the DCS concern cases where the relationship between a patient and their dental professional has broken down. Patients have said that they feel that their dental professional does not take their complaint seriously, or is not willing to resolve the problem. Listen to their complaint and respond in a constructive, professional manner. If you’re unable to sort the matter out, tell them about the NHS complaints procedure for NHS treatment or the Dental Complaints Service for private treatment.

Case file Failure of treatment In brief: Patients can be unhappy when treatment is unsuccessful, or they don’t see the results they expected. Patients have reported to the DCS that they weren’t clearly informed about what treatment was being carried out, or felt the results were not as good as they had been led to expect. Make sure you fully discuss the treatment plan with your patients before starting a course of treatment, and be clear about the costs and risks involved in any treatment. You should keep accurate records of treatment

Wherever you see a ‘Learning points’ arrow you’ll find info on our Standards, guidance and expectations.

plans, consent forms and after-care advice to ensure that you and other members of the dental team can be clear about past treatment and developing future treatment plans.

Case file Continuing care In brief: We’ve received complaints from patients when dentists are unable to complete a course of treatment or move to another practice. In some cases, it may become apparent that you are unable to complete a course of treatment, such as if you move to another practice, or do not have the equipment needed for certain types of treatment. If you’re unable to provide the appropriate treatment for a patient, you should inform them as soon as possible, and refer them to an appropriately qualified member of the dental team. Make sure they understand why you are referring them, and who will be responsible for continuing their treatment. l You can order copies of our publications, including our leaflets for patients about the Dental Complaints Service, by calling 0845 222 4141.

information@gdc-uk.org

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GDC Gazette

• Conduct case files These examples are a summary of some of the cases considered by the Professional Conduct and Professional Performance Committees between 27 August 2011 and 1 March 2012. Cases have been selected to illustrate learning points about regulatory standards and fitness to practise, and may not include all allegations of the case considered at the hearing.

Case file

Criminal acts Read the ‘Learning points’ for Standards guidance on each topic.

Criminal acts

Justify the trust that your patients, the public and your colleagues have in you by always acting honestly and fairly ‘Standards for dental professionals’ 6.1 Maintain appropriate standards of personal behaviour in all walks of life so that patients have confidence in you and the public have confidence in the dental profession. ‘Standards for dental professionals’ 6.3 Patients and the public have a right to expect that their dental team are trustworthy, and practise in accordance with our standards. We can consider any criminal conviction or caution, including offences not directly connected with a registrant’s profession.

Case file Criminal behaviour Name: SUH, Young Jun Profession: Dentist Registration No: 70184 Outcome: Fitness to practise impaired, erased with immediate suspension In September 2009 the GDC’s Interim Orders Committee imposed on Young Jun Suh an interim suspension from the dentists register. This meant he should not have continued to work as a dentist in the UK. In May 2011, at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court in London, Mr Suh pleaded guilty to unlawfully practising dentistry at Camberwell Dental Surgery during the period of his suspension when he was not registered. He was sentenced to pay a £4,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £15 and GDC costs of £6,000.

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It considered this to be a grave and serious matter. Mr Suh’s actions were and remain incompatible with registration with the GDC and undermine public confidence in the profession. For these reasons, the Committee determined that the only proportionate sanction in this case was one of erasure with immediate suspension.

The Professional Conduct Committee said that, in practising while suspended, Mr Suh placed his own interests above those of his patients and demonstrated a complete disregard for the authority of his regulator. His actions showed a total lack of integrity which brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute. The Committee was in no doubt that his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his conviction. The Committee noted that Mr Suh apologised to the Magistrate’s Court for his actions and that he pleaded guilty. While the sanction imposed was not intended to be punitive, the Committee noted that erasure could have a damaging effect upon him financially. However the Committee has a duty to protect the public and safeguard the reputation of the profession.

Name: MCDONAGH, Karen Anne Profession: Dental nurse Registration No: 143978 Outcome: Fitness to practise impaired, erased with immediate suspension The Crown Court at KingstonUpon-Thames convicted Karen Anne McDonagh of theft for stealing cash from her former employer and was sentenced on the basis of the theft of £5,000 between April 2008 and December 2009. The exact amount of money stolen was disputed, but the sums involved were substantial and involved dishonesty and deception over an extended period. The Committee heard Ms McDonagh altered patient records and took advantage of her position as a practice manager. The Committee noted that despite pleading guilty at court, Ms McDonagh sought to deny to the GDC the extent of her involvement. The Committee did not accept Ms McDonagh’s denials and took them as an indication of a lack of insight. The Committee was in no doubt that her fitness to practise was impaired. In order to maintain public confidence in the profession and in the interests of patient safety, the Committee decided that the only proportionate sanction would be erasure with immediate suspension.


www.gdc-uk.org

Quality of care

Scope of Practice

Recognise that your qualification for registration was the first stage in your professional education. Develop and update your knowledge and skills throughout your working life. `Standards for dental professionals’ 5.1 Consider areas where you need to develop your skills, and identify areas for improvement. There may be occasions when you need to refer a patient to another member of the dental team, rather than carry out a treatment yourself, if the treatment falls outside of your training or experience.

Case file Quality of care Name: GILLESPIE, Steven Ross Profession: Dentist Registration No: 56630 Outcome: Fitness to practise impaired, conditions for 18 months Steven Ross Gillespie was the owner and sole practitioner of Silksworth Dental Practice in Sunderland. The Committee heard charges relating to the diagnosis, treatment and advice he gave to patients on a number of occasions between 2006 and 2010. Mr Gillespie had failed to adequately diagnose and treat conditions including periodontal disease and caries, keep adequate clinical records and the record reasons for prescribing antibiotics. The failings in professional practice, were admitted and found proved in respect of 13 patients. Evidence was presented aimed at demonstrating his efforts and willingness to improve his dental knowledge, including relevant CPD. He is now working as part of a group practice. The Committee noted that, while this was encouraging, having returned to clinical practice just two months prior to the hearing it was not possible to effectively evaluate the remedial action. The Committee also felt that Mr Gillespie had not shown

adequate insight and therefore found that his Fitness to Practise was impaired as a result of misconduct. The Committee considered Mr Gillespie’s conduct to be remediable and that this remediation needed to be monitored. Conditions were imposed for 18 months, including appointing a workplace supervisor and working with his postgraduate dental dean to address the deficiencies in his practice.

Case file Scope of Practice Name: SCOTCHER, Richard John Profession: Dental technician Registration No: 133983 Outcome: Fitness to practise impaired, suspended for six months Richard John Scotcher worked as a dental technician and in 2007 provided dentures and treatments to two patients. Mr Scotcher had not yet registered with the GDC as mandatory registration for dental technicians was not in force at the time. After consulting the Dentists Act 1984 (as amended), the Committee was satisfied that it did have the jurisdiction to consider these allegations. The charges alleged he acted outside of his scope of practice by taking impressions, constructing

If you are a DCP, make sure you understand the circumstances in which you should refer the patient to a dentist and that there is a procedure for doing this. Make this procedure clear to the patient. You have a responsibility to explain to the patient the importance of seeing a dentist regularly. ‘Principles of dental team working’ 4.1 Make sure you understand how our ‘Scope of Practice’ guidance applies to you. Some types of treatment should only be carried out by a dentist, or on a dentist’s prescription. You should not carry out treatment which is outside of your scope, or ask another member of the team to perform a treatment unless they are appropriately qualified to do so. the dentures without a dentist’s prescription, and fitting the dentures in the patients’ mouths. During the fitting, he mixed up the two patients’ dentures, and tried to fit one patient’s dentures in the mouth of another patient. The Committee was satisfied that it was unlikely he disinfected the denture after removing it or follow proper infection control procedures. The Committee also heard from one of the patients that her dentures did not fit well, causing pain and discomfort. The Committee was satisfied that the dentures were inadequate from the outset. The Committee noted Mr Scotcher’s admission of the charges and heard that there had been no subsequent violations, but was not satisfied that he had demonstrated insight into his misconduct. The Committee also noted that in the case of registrants deliberately practising outside of their training and scope of practice, conditions were neither appropriate nor proportionate. Therefore, the Committee found that suspension for six months would be appropriate, with a review at the end of that period.

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GDC Gazette

• Case listings The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) heard 58 cases between 27 August 2011 and 1 March 2012. The registrants listed may also be subject to decisions made by other GDC Committees and to sanctions imposed at earlier hearings.

Name

Registration Type of number case

Outcome

ABDEEN, Dilshan

75747

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Reprimand.

AHMED, Irfan

113437

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired, suspension for 9 months.

BINDA, Igor Marek

100489

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

BRANCATO, Onofrio Antonino

105944

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

CASSON, Carol

152702

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Reprimand.

CRISP, John Cunningham

51695

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

FOSTER, Christopher James

192127

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 6 months with a review and immediate suspension.

GILLESPIE, Steven Ross

56630

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 18 months with a review and immediate conditions.

GYOREV, Savcho Borisov

173888

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 12 months with a review and immediate suspension.

HANIF, Azhar

73021

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

HARGREAVES, Nigel John

63676

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Reprimand.

HARRIS, Amy Lois

119432

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

HAYNES, Sarah Caroline

137165

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

HEATH, Adrian James Russell

70568

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

HILL, David

71655

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

HUNT, Jonathan Garston

55823

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

HUSSAIN, Ikhlaq

71810

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

JAMROZ, Robert Marian

84994

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 12 months with a review and immediate conditions.

JANUZAJ, Valdet

78303

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 12 months with a review and immediate conditions.

KUNZ, Katherine Lucy

60788

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 18 months with a review.

LICHTOROWICZ, Piotr Franciszek

84980

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

Case outcomes Erased Suspended Suspension continued Suspension terminated Suspension replaced with conditions Conditions Conditions continued Conditions terminated Reprimanded Fitness to practise not impaired Adjourned

15 8 1 1

Total

58

1 8 2 2 4 7 9

The registrants listed here may share identical or similar names with other registrants on our registers and confusion could cause serious distress and professional embarrassment to those who have not been involved in fitness to practise proceedings. To confirm the identity of the registrants involved in fitness to practise proceedings we have listed their unique registration number next to their name.

14 |

Spring 2012


www.gdc-uk.org

Name

Registration Type of number case

Outcome

MBATHA, Philile Cordelia

80350

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 12 months with a review.

MCCANNY, Brendan Joseph

50393

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

MCCORMACK, Seamus

79989

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

MCDONAGH, Karen Anne

143978

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

MCLAREN, Neil Edward

179218

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

MIRHAGHGOYJALALI, Seyedjalal

72915

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 12 months with a review and immediate suspension.

MORRIS, Louise Terry

175078

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Reprimand.

NDIMANDE, Zola Joseph

80351

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

NUGENT, Robert Anthony

161921

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

PAPADIMOS, Panagiotis

100797

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 12 months with a review and immediate suspension.

PARKER, Mohamed Sayeed

73727

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 12 months with a review and immediate conditions.

PATEL, Rikeshkumar Sumanchandra

71367

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 12 months with a review.

PEPPERELL, Stephen

54967

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

PIROUZNIA, Vahid

77004

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

REICHEL, Piotr Tadeusz

100599

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

SANDERSON, Monica Karen

56878

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 7 months with a review and immediate suspension.

SCOTCHER, Richard John

133983

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Suspension for 6 months with a review and immediate suspension.

SHAH, Rameshchandra Ladhabhai

48640

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 15 months with a review and immediate conditions.

SUH, Young Jun

70184

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Erased with immediate suspension.

TILDSLEY, Paul Edward

64833

PCC

Fitness to practise not impaired.

TOTH, Arpad Alexander

130924

PCC

Fitness to practise impaired. Conditions for 24 months with a review.

PCC procedures The PCC hears evidence and decides whether allegations are proved, then whether any proven facts make a registrant’s fitness to practise impaired. They can impose the following sanctions: • Conclude the case with or without a reprimand • Conditions for up to three years • Suspension for up to one year • Erasure from the register. For conviction cases the procedure is different – the Committee must accept the findings of Court and decide whether further action needs to be taken.

Glossary Case concluded: No further action to be taken. Reprimand (Old Rules – admonishment): The PCC expresses its disapproval – registration is unaffected. Conditions: Conditions are designed to bring standards back to an appropriate level, e.g. monitoring and training or not carrying out certain types of treatment. Suspension: Registration may be suspended for any period (to a maximum 12 months), often with a review. Erasure: The behaviour of the registrant is so serious that it is in the public interest to stop them practising. Immediate conditions or suspension: Unless conditions or suspension are immediate, sanctions do not take effect until after 28 days. If immediate suspension is not imposed and a registrant appeals, they can continue to practise until the appeal is decided by the High Court. If immediate suspension is imposed, the dental professional may not practise until any appeal is decided. l Full details are available on our website.

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| 15


Help us to quality assure education and training programmes We are recruiting registrant and lay inspectors who can bring their knowledge, skills and experience to our inspections. As part of our duty to protect patients and maintain the standard of dental education, the GDC carries out quality assurance inspections of education and training programmes leading to registration as a dentist or dental care professional. Inspectors work in teams alongside dentists, DCPs, lay people and GDC staff. Inspections usually last from one to three days. Inspectors make recommendations on the basis of their findings and help to prepare inspection reports. Inspectors also assess submissions for new programmes.

Registrant inspectors will need to have experience of dental education and training. You may have gained this in an academic setting or in another area, such as foundation training. You will also have a commitment to assuring the quality of academic programmes leading to registration.

For an application pack, please visit www.gdc-uk.org

The closing date for applications is 31 May 2012.

Lay inspectors will have an understanding of quality assurance and the role of the regulator. They may have held a senior position in further/ higher education. They should be able to represent patient interests throughout the inspection process.

You will need to commit at least six days a year and will be required to attend training and induction sessions. Inspectors are paid a fee, currently ÂŁ353 per day, plus expenses.


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