29 April 2014
Q. Can a student orthodontic therapist work in the period between completing a recognised course (and hopefully passing!) and receiving the certificate from the Royal College and, in turn, registration with the GDC? There can be a period of several weeks between the two events and indemnity would be needed if she is to be able to work. What would you advise?
The General Dental Council regards DCPs as being either ‘in training or registered’; there is no third category. It follows therefore that when a therapist qualifies, one could regard the training period as being at an end. If there is a delay before full registration as an orthodontic therapist is reached, it is an interesting argument as to whether they are in a position to practise and to what extent.
The GDC understands that as part of their training, orthodontic therapy students are set a work plan treating patients as prescribed by the supervising dentist that would continue after the official end of their training. As a consequence, orthodontic therapy students are regarded as being ‘in training’ during the interim period while their application for full registration is considered.
This means they can continue to work as student orthodontic therapists as long as they are suitably indemnified and work within their training and competency. Most of these individuals will previously have registered with the GDC (usually as dental nurses) and their re-registration is often simply a formality unless of course the students have disclosed some form of health or character issue to the GDC that might delay things.
If she has access to indemnity as a dental member of MPS whilst a student orthodontic therapist, or as a student on a recognised student outreach programme which has appropriate indemnity, then her indemnity will continue, although upon registration she will move to a first year qualified grade.
If the orthodontic therapist is indemnified by another company or insurance policy, it will be necessary for her to check with them to ensure that any indemnity continues.