15 February 2011

With a team of 50 dento-legal advisers available to answer members’ enquires, Dental Health has selected some recent enquires they have received to see what the experts at Dental Protection have to say. The situations have been fictionalised to ensure confidentiality.

Q. My colleague has not yet recorded any CPD. She says there is no requirement to undertake CPD every year and is prepared to do it all within the last six months of her five year cycle. She always adds, “assuming I am still working by then”. Can you reassure me on this subject?

Theoretically speaking your colleague is quite correct. The GDC’s requirement is that registrants undertake a set amount of CPD within a five year period and therefore if that registrant wishes to undertake all of that CPD in the last six months, then he or she is perfectly entitled to do this. That is not to say, however, that such an approach would be wise as this is an awful lot of CPD in a very short period of time. Simply trying to find courses that cover the core subjects within this brief window of opportunity might well be difficult.

There is of course a further issue in that undertaking CPD in this way is not within the spirit of the GDC’s advice. Indeed some patients might be quite alarmed if they knew that the treating clinician held this view and was likely to be somewhat out of date at a given point in time.

If you cast your mind back over the last few years and consider the changes that have occurred from a hygienist point of view. Failing to keep up to date would imply that this hygienist could still be providing antibiotic cover to patients with a history of rheumatic fever and perhaps still insisting that the dentist should be on the premises when she wants to use local anaesthetic.

The role of the hygienist has changed significantly over the last five years and certainly in the next five years looks set to change once again as we see the introduction of additional duties and perhaps even direct access. Your hygienist colleague is likely to be a long way behind the times and the provision of her treatment might well suffer accordingly.

Certainly if the matter were to be brought to the attention of the GDC (perhaps via a complaint) he or she would be leaving themselves wide open to criticism and perhaps some might say, ‘quite rightly so’. Continuing professional development was the name selected by the GDC for the process of keeping up to date. The clue to this question can be found in their wording.

Dental Protection Limited is registered in England (No. 2374160) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Medical Protection Society Limited (MPS) which is registered in England (No.36142). Both companies use Dental Protection as a trading name and have their registered office at 33 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PS.

Dental Protection Limited serves and supports the dental members of MPS with access to the full range of benefits of membership, which are all discretionary, and set out in MPS’s Memorandum and Articles of Association. MPS is not an insurance company. Dental Protection® is a registered trademark of MPS.

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