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GDC standards Q&A - Principle 7 - Maintain, Develop and Work Within Your Professional Knowledge and Skills

Post date: 22/08/2017 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 25/10/2019

Where can I find out about current evidence and best practice which affect my work, premises, equipment and business?

The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) offers a comprehensive range of useful resources and guidelines pertinent to best practice in areas of clinical dentistry, the workplace and equipment.

How can I know if I am indemnified for the treatment I am about to offer?
Where can I find out about creating a personal development plan (PDP) that will improve my practice?

Members are advised to get in touch with our Membership Services team prior to carrying out treatment to ensure they have adequate and appropriate indemnity for the particular treatment being planned.

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I am fully abled and usually consider myself level-headed but the guidance says that I must only work within my mental and physical capabilities. What does this mean?

The GP’s Guide to Personal Development by Amar Rughani (Radcliffe Publishing, 2001) is available from Amazon. This text offers a simple guide to the process of formulating a PDP, with exercises and advice on how to write and develop a PDP. It shows the reader how to demonstrate that they have engaged in appropriate educational activity, essential for revalidation. Some postgraduate deaneries are also able to provide advice about formulating a PDP.

The Royal College of Surgeons also has guidance and templates on PDPs as well as other organisations such as the former Deaneries.

If I don’t feel confident about undertaking a particular treatment for a patient, would I be vulnerable if I tell the practice owner about my reluctance to provide that treatment?

Even if it is within my scope of practice and I have appropriate training what should I do if I don’t feel confident about undertaking a particular treatment for a patient? Would I be vulnerable if I tell the practice owner about my reluctance to provide that treatment?

Principle 7.2.1 of Standards for the Dental Team states that you must only carry out a task or type of treatment if you are appropriately trained, competent and confident, and indemnified. Insertion of the word ‘confident’ is new and is a largely subjective judgement for each individual to make.

The need to feel confident is likely to be particularly relevant to DCP/therapists and new dental graduates who may find they are asked to carry out something which, though falling within their scope of practice and trained to provide, they may lack the confidence to undertake. The introduction of the new wording legitimises the decision to decline to carry out the task. On the other hand it may well be possible to build a degree of confidence if it is possible to provide a mentor or supervisor on site who could assist and advise when needed and to help build confidence and ensure patient safety. This clause may also apply to more experienced clinicians learning a new technique who may also wish to use a mentor or to work with a degree of supervision.

Paragraph 7.2.2 develops the situation further by stating: ‘If you are not confident… you must refer’. There is no choice; this is a ‘must’, not a ‘should’ and dignifies the referral process if the registrant considers they are not confident to carry out a particular treatment. A practice owner would need to recognise that by declining to carry out a particular treatment due to lack of confidence, the clinician is adhering to the GDC Standards document.

« Principle 6 - Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests

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