The GDC normally considers the following types of cases:
We are told by the police if a registrant has been convicted or cautioned in the United Kingdom. However, under the GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team, a practitioner must notify the GDC directly if they have been cautioned or convicted of any criminal offence. The obligation to notify us arises as soon as the registrant has been cautioned or charged. We can also consider convictions and cautions imposed abroad which, if committed in England and Wales, would constitute a criminal offence.
Criminal convictions can include offences not directly connected with a registrant's professional practice or which occurred while the registrant was not registered. For example, we would consider convictions for fraud whether related to dentistry or to personal finances, drink driving offences, sexual or physical assault or deception.
The Case Examiners will consider the information given to us and will decide whether the information needs to be referred to a Practice Committee (PC).
If referred to a PC, the PC must accept the findings of the court on matters of fact. This means that a dental professional cannot claim to have been innocent of the original charges. Similarly the PC may not question the conviction.
The only duty of the PC is to decide whether (and what) further action needs to be taken against the dental professional.
Conduct procedures allow us to deal with cases where a dental professional's behaviour may put patients at risk.
We have powers under the 1984 Dentists Act (as amended) to take action when an allegation is made that a dental professional's fitness to practise is impaired by reason of their conduct.
Examples of issues that we may deal with under these procedures include poor dental treatment, inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour, or activities that may endanger the safety of patients or the public.
Health procedures allow us to deal with cases where a dental professionals health problems may put patients at risk.
We have powers under the 1984 Dentists Act to take action when an allegation is made that a dentist's fitness to practise is impaired by reason of a physical or mental health condition.
A registrant suffering from physical impairment which might jeopardise the wellbeing of patients should seek medical advice, and, if necessary, restrict the scope of his or her dental practice. If a registrant wilfully continues to practise with a physical impairment which could affect the safety of patients, then we may regard this as misconduct.
For more information about our fitness to practise procedures, please contact us.
Dentists seeking help with health problems
Many dentists seek help from the Dentists' Health Support Programme (formerly known as the Sick Dentist Scheme). The Dentists' Health Support Programme can be contacted on the following confidential number: 020 7224 4671.
Performance procedures allow us to deal with cases where a dental professional's professional performance may put patients at risk.
We have powers under the 1984 Dentists Act (as amended) to take action when an allegation is made that a dental professional's fitness to practise is impaired by reason of their professional performance.
In cases where this may be the case, we will request that the dental professional undergoes a full assessment of their performance, to find out where any issues may arise. The case may then be referred to the Professional Performance Committee.