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Surviving dental school: What are fitness to practise panels?

14 June 2021

Hopefully it will never happen to you, but it’s good to know what happens if you ever need to appear before a fitness to practise panel.

What is a fitness to practise panel?

A fitness to practise panel is a special type of disciplinary panel. It’s for students on courses that lead to qualifications to work in regulated professions, such as dentistry, medicine and nursing.

What to expect

As a dental student you are expected to behave in a way which is commensurate with being a professional. Your standards of behaviour will be judged in in much the same way as if you were already qualified. You need to be aware that dental schools can issue formal procedures if they believe a student’s behaviour falls below these levels. Some of the questions a fitness to practise panel may consider include:

• Has the student’s behaviour harmed patients or put them at risk?

• Was there deliberate or reckless disregard of professional or clinical responsibilities towards patients or colleagues?

• Is the student’s health or impairment compromising patient safety?

• Has the student abused a patient’s trust, or violated a patient’s autonomy, or other fundamental rights?

• Has the student behaved dishonestly, fraudulently, or in any way designed to mislead or harm others?

We can help you

 As a student member of Dental Protection you are entitled to request assistance for any disciplinary matter which you are involved in.

If you find yourself under scrutiny by virtue of an alleged misdemeanour, it is important you contact us here at Dental Protection as soon as you can. Issues which relate entirely to personal conduct may, however, fall outside of the scope of assistance which Dental Protection can offer. 

To talk to us about disciplinary procedures or issues you might be facing, call our support and advice line on +44 207 399 1400.