Maintaining professional standards in relation to controversial issues

06 December, 2023

Discrimination has no place in dentistry. Statements or actions that are discriminatory against an individual or group based on characteristics such as religion or ethnicity are a breach of professional standards and are unacceptable.  That applies equally to interactions in professional settings, to wider social engagement, to participation in public events and to online and social media activity.

Dental professionals, like everyone else, have a right to express opinions, including political opinions, which other people may disagree with very strongly or even consider illegitimate. We respect that right, but expect it to be exercised in ways which are consistent with upholding professional standards.

In recent weeks, we have seen a marked increase in levels of concern about antisemitism and Islamophobia apparent in both words and actions. We take all such concerns reported to us very seriously. Where it is established that there has been a breach of our standards by an individual dental professional, we will take appropriate action. At the same time, we will ensure that the operation of the fitness to practise process does not inadvertently become an inappropriate constraint on freedom of expression.

We also recognise that current events have been deeply concerning to many people, particularly those who feel a close affinity with the affected communities. We urge all dental professionals to think carefully about how what they say and do may be perceived by their patients, their fellow professionals and the wider community and to act at all times in ways which reflect high standards of professionalism.