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Breaking the burnout cycle

Through the “Breaking the burnout cycle: keeping dentists and patients safe” campaign Dental Protection is making a range of policy recommendations that, if taken seriously, would help to improve the mental health and wellbeing of dentists and mitigate the risks of burnout in the profession.

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Dental Protection well prepared for potential implications of direct access in UK

16 April 2014

On 28 March, the General Dental Council (GDC) took the decision to allow DCPs to provide a range of services direct to members of the public without the need for a referral and prescription from a registered dentist. When placed alongside the simultaneous expansion of the scope of practice for many DCP groups, the potential implications for the delivery of dental care, workforce planning and the balance of resources against demand in the UK are far-reaching. This decision followed the GDC’s deliberations on a lengthy series of stakeholder and public consultations, to which Dental Protection contributed both through a written submission and a formal presentation to the relevant GDC committee.

Dental Protection strongly welcomes the emphasis that the GDC has placed upon patient safety and the need for all registrants to work within the limits of their knowledge, training and competence.

Kevin Lewis, Dental Protection’s Dental Director said, 'Many UK observers have described this as a giant step into the unknown – whether they happen to agree with the changes or not - and undeniably, there are risks as well as opportunities. But for Dental Protection this is more familiar territory because of our many years of experience working with different variations of ‘direct access’ in other parts of the world where we protect and support many thousands of members. We believe that we are better placed than most to anticipate the likely impact of these changes here in the UK.

Just as when dental nurses and other DCP groups became registered, and before that when hygienists first had their scope of practice expanded to include local anaesthesia, we have no plans for any knee-jerk reaction to these latest changes.

In subscription terms we already differentiate between DCPs who work independently, owning and operating their own dental practices, and those who do not. We also have existing arrangements in place to ensure that all

members of the dental team can access indemnity appropriate to their own individual role and needs and are paying fairly for their own risk rather than being regularly subsidised by others.

Drawing from our first hand experience of various forms of direct access in other countries, we recognise that while some risks will change for the better, there is a potential for other new risks to emerge. Much will depend on the practical impact of these changes here in the UK and how individuals and a range of other parties react to them. We will therefore keep this currently fluid situation under review and work with all of our members to ensure that they fully understand any new risks that they might be thinking of taking on, and how to manage them effectively.'

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