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GDC Scope of Practice guidance should clarify boundaries in registrant roles, says Dental Protection

Post date: 09/05/2023 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 09/05/2023

Dental Protection has urged the General Dental Council (GDC) to provide further clarity on the boundaries for each registrant type and an assessment of complex skills in the proposed revised Scope of Practice guidance.

In its consultation response, Dental Protection broadly welcomes the guidance but notes that refinement would clarify and ensure that all registrants fully understand the boundaries of each role.

Scope of Practice is a key guide in the regulation of dentistry, referenced by indemnity providers to understand and consider the scope for each registrant group. Any lack of clarity could lead to misinterpretation and role ambiguity, and potentially impact on indemnity.

Yvonne Shaw, Deputy Dental Director at Dental Protection said: “On the whole, we welcome the proposed revised Scope of Practice guidance as it will allow Dental Care Professionals to embrace the benefits of a skill-mix approach in the future delivery of dental care and encourage personal development.

“This version is clearer and less prescriptive than the previous Scope of Practice document. However, in intending to be less prescriptive there is the potential that boundaries might be misunderstood.

“As an example, we have asked the GDC to consider the specific reference to interproximal reduction and this procedure being excluded in the Orthodontic Therapist role boundary. In the absence of specific reference to this elective procedure for other registrant groups, who can undertake this procedure remains unclear. Once the remit and boundaries of each member of the dental team are clear, we would welcome patient information leaflets that list FAQs on each role, which patients may find helpful.

“The GDC should also describe how it would assess ‘complexity’ in the event of a complaint. The guidance acknowledges that ‘more complex skills may require training delivered by an accredited educational provider’, but it does not specify which are those complex skills.”

The GDC consultation into the Scope of Practice closes on 11 May. Read Dental Protection’s full response here.


For further information contact: [email protected].

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world.

Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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