Facing a concern
This page covers what you need to do, and what to expect, if a concern has been raised about you.
As the UK regulator for dental professionals, we have a legal duty to review concerns we receive about a registrant’s clinical performance/ability, behaviour/conduct or health.
If you receive a letter from us letting you know that a concern has been raised about you, it is important to remember:
- We have not taken any action other than sending you this letter.
- You are still able to continue working in your current role.
- Once we have received and considered the relevant information, around four in every ten concerns are closed with no further action.
The letter will set out the reasons for us looking into the concerns, and we will probably ask you for more information to help us fully consider it. We expect any information requested to be provided by the deadline given as delays can cause undue stress, and we want to examine, and make our decisions in a timely manner.
You may wish to contact your indemnity provider, and we have also provided a list of other support available.
Providing your comments or observations
You will be asked to submit any comments or observations in relation to the allegations raised about you. In most cases, you will have 28 days to provide your comments. You do not have to submit observations, but most people do, because providing detailed comments helps to ensure that we are fully informed of all relevant facts, as early as possible in the process.
Providing detailed observations within the 28-day time limit can be challenging. In some cases, where there is no other fitness to practise matter being actively considered by us, an extension can be requested. Requests should be made within 14 days of the date on our letter, for an extension of 14 days. We will also provide early disclosure of clinical assessment reports for cases in these categories.
The case categories where an extension can be requested are:
- Single patient concern – relating to clinical care and treatment provided by a dental professional. Primarily clinical, but may include concerns about conduct.
- Dental care professional (DCP) performance concern.
- Maintenance of practice, equipment and material concerns – relating to practice maintenance, including equipment in the practice, cross infection control, and out of date medicines.
What happens next?
When we have all the information we need, we will decide what to do next. If the concern relates to clinical care, we will take advice from our clinical advisers before reaching a decision.
Once we have received all the relevant information, we aim to tell you our decision as soon as possible.
We will either:
- Take no further action.
- Signpost the matter to another relevant organisation.
- Decide it needs further consideration. We will then ask you for comments on the concern.
If you would like further information on the full fitness to practise process, you can find out more about the four stages of our procedure.
Guidance for registrants
If you are represented, your indemnity provider/solicitor may assist you with making the relevant arrangements.
If you are not represented, you may find the Information guide for unrepresented registrants useful. This guide is for dental professionals involved in fitness to practise proceedings who intend to represent themselves. It explains the fitness to practise process step-by-step.
Our IOC guidance provides information for registrants whose case has been referred to an IOC hearing. It includes information about the IOC, the activities of different parties, things for you to do before, during and after a hearing, along with the outcomes from this type of hearing to ensure you know what to expect.
You can also download our Commitee decision making guide which outlines the stages our commitees go through.
Our page on Hearings and decisions has more information on the hearings process, including what to expect at a hearing, and the different roles of those who attend them.