Fitness to practise

If there are concerns that shortcomings in a dental professional’s conduct or competence that are so great as to put patients at serious risk, or seriously damage public confidence in dentistry, we will investigate. When appropriate we will take action to mitigate that risk. Concerns may arise directly, for example, from a patient, by referral from another body (for example, a police notification of a criminal caution or conviction), or from other sources.

When we say that someone is 'fit to practise' we mean that they have the appropriate skills, knowledge, character and health to practise their profession safely and effectively. However, fitness to practise is not just about a practitioner’s clinical performance or health.

A practitioner’s fitness to practise also includes any actions which they may have taken which affect public confidence in dental professionals and their regulation. This may include matters not directly related to professional practice, for example, committing a criminal act.

We investigate:

  • serious or repeated mistakes in clinical care, for example mistakes in diagnosis or dental procedure.
  • failure to examine a patient properly, to secure a patient’s informed consent before treatment, keep satisfactory records, or to respond reasonably to a patient’s needs
  • not having professional indemnity insurance
  • cross infection issues (for example, using dirty clinical equipment during treatment)
  • serious breaches of a patient’s confidentiality
  • indications of a criminal offence including fraud, theft or dishonesty by a dental professional
  • poor health or a medical condition that significantly affects a dental professional’s ability to treat patients safely.

If a registrant’s fitness to practise is found to be impaired, we may decide to:

  • take no action
  • issue a reprimand
  • place conditions on registration
  • suspend registration
  • remove an individual from the register.

There is also an appeals process.