GDC launches consultation on Scope of Practice

16 February, 2023

We have today launched a new consultation on Scope of Practice guidance that is important for dental professionals, workplaces and education providers. 

The proposed changes aim to better support dental professionals to use their professional judgement to make decisions in the interest of their patients. The changes also aim to help professionals understand the boundaries of other roles within the dental team, to promote team-working that delivers best patient care. 

The proposals will not change the scope of practice of any of the dental professions. However, they will provide individual dental professionals with clear boundaries around their role while also enabling those who are trained, competent and indemnified to expand their personal scope of practice within those boundaries, safely and effectively. 

We continue to take steps to maintain and improve patient safety by moving dental regulation towards preventing harm rather than responding to the consequences of it. A key part of this move is to foster a system that supports and encourages professionalism and decision-making that is centred on the best interests of patients.   

Our review of the current guidance showed that it is no longer being used as originally intended and that it is being widely interpreted by the dental professions as a comprehensive, rather than indicative, list of tasks.  

This interpretation can limit and restrict a professional’s practice and can impact patient care.  

What became apparent during extensive stakeholder engagement was broad support for the guidance to be updated to make it less prescriptive and more adaptable. 

We encourage all interested and affected parties to share their feedback by 11 May when the consultation closes.  

Stefan Czerniawski, GDC Executive Director, Strategy, said: 

“The GDC is pleased to be able to launch this consultation, which will better support dental professionals to use their professional judgement to make decisions in the interests and safety of patients. 

“We have developed the updated Scope of Practice guidance after wide-ranging engagement with stakeholders and patients. We will continue this engagement during the consultation period, and we want to hear different views on the proposals. We think this is the right way forward and welcome suggestions for further improvement.” 

View our consultation here