What information must be published on a dental practice website in the UK?
The General Dental Council has published new guidance on advertising which comes into effect from 1 March 2012. The GDC has aligned its guidance on websites to reflect the Code of Ethics for Dentists in the EU for Electronic Commerce European which is contained in EU Manual of Dental Practice published by the Council of European Dentists.
- Every dental professional mentioned on the site who also provides dental treatment at the practice must have the following information displayed against the name:
i) their professional qualification and the country from which that qualification is derived; and
ii) their GDC registration number.
- Dental practice websites must display the following information:
i) the name and geographic address at which the dental service is established;
ii) contact details of the dental service, including e-mail address and telephone number;
iii) the GDC’s address and other contact details, or a link to the GDC website;
iv) details of the practice’s complaints procedure and information of who patients may contact if they are not satisfied with the response (namely the relevant NHS body for NHS treatment and the Dental Complaints Service for private treatment); and
v) the date the website was last updated.
The website should be updated regularly to show personnel at the practice and the service(s) offered. The website must not display information comparing the skills or qualifications of any dental professional providing any service with the skills and qualifications of other dental professionals.
It remains the responsibility of individual registrants to ensure that any information published about them on any website, in their role as a registrant, conforms to the latest GDC guidance. Members of Dental Protection are advised to check any information they publish themselves or which has been published by their practice, or any other place where they work, to ensure that it conforms to the latest guidance. This applies to websites as well as any other form of advertising or publicity material.
In particular members are advised to:
i) ensure information is current and accurate
ii) make sure that your GDC registration number is included
iii) use clear language that patients are likely to understand
iv) back up claims with facts
v) avoid ambiguous statements
vi) avoid statements or claims intended or likely to create an unjustified expectation about the results that you can achieve.