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What support is available during fitness to practise procedures?

​​We recognise that it can be stressful and seem confusing when a concern has been raised. We want to do what we can to reduce this stress where possible. This involves:

  • Being clear about what to expect when engaging with our procedures.
  • Ensuring we deliver the highest standard of customer care achieved by developing a customer service charter. This ensures our staff are clear about the standards of care our customers should expect.

We have worked in partnership with Samaritans to train GDC staff involved in the fitness to practise process. This will make certain they have the skills to help recognise where an individual may need additional support.

If you have had a concern raised about you and you feel you would benefit from additional support, you can discuss this with our staff and they can advise you where best to find help. 

Registrants will appreciate that if there are any concerns about their health and wellbeing that may put patients at risk the information may be used in our proceedings. We will keep information relating to health and wellbeing confidential in line with data protection legislation. We may share this information with other organisations who can offer support, but we will discuss this with you first before doing so.

Witnesses and informants should be aware that we may need to disclose information to the registrant facing proceedings. If you have any questions about this then please raise them with our staff. You can visit our witness advice page here.

You can find information about organisations that can provide you with support below:

Advocate is the operating name of the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The Bar Pro Bono Unit (BPBU) is the Bar’s national charity. They match make applicants with deserving cases with barristers who are willing to provide their services for free. They only assist those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay. Advocate is an application based service which members of the public can access via referral from advice agencies, law centres, or their local MP. Advocate ensures that in each case, the barrister providing assistance is of the same expertise and experience as would be expected in a paying case. They are the sole pro bono charity to provide legal assistance in all areas of law, across all levels from tribunal through to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Support from the Unit is not guaranteed but they will do their best to assist where possible.

You can contact Advocate by:
Telephone: 0207 092 3960  
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

You can contact AA by
Telephone: 0800 9177 650
Phone number for Ireland: 0035318420700
Email: [email protected]
Website: alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk
The BDA Benevolent Fund is an independent charity for dentists – both past and present – to ensure that dentists do not go unsupported in times of need or crisis. 

Every year they help people who are in serious financial need as a result of illness, accident, unemployment or other adversity. They provide grants, interest-free loans and occasionally financial support with career transition. Each case is dealt with on an individual basis and the assistance they provide is tailored to each person's needs.

For further information, or to discuss an application in confidence, you can contact the BDA Benevolent Fund by:
Telephone: 020 7486 4994
The British Doctors and Dentists Group (BDDG) is a mutual / self-help group of doctors and dentists who are recovering from chemical addiction – alcohol and / or drugs (prescription and non-prescription). There are around 800 members in the United Kingdom meeting in 18 active groups – most groups meet monthly for mutual support, to discuss alcohol and drug related problems affecting us personally and professionally, to maintain our own sobriety and to offer help to the still suffering doctor and dentist, and to their families.

You can contact BDDG by:
Email: [email protected]
Website: bddg.org

As the UK's only national membership charity for carers, Carers UK is both a supportive community and a movement for change. For the past 50 years they have been driven by carers raising their voices together to call for change and seek recognition and support.

Looking after someone can be a rewarding experience but it can also be lonely and bewildering. At these times, you need people around you who really understand caring. They can help by sharing experiences and offering support. Guided by a Board of Trustees that is primarily made up of carers, they are rooted in the real experiences of their members and they are here to make life better for carers.

You can contact Carers UK by: 
Telephone: 020 7378 4999
NI Telephone: 028 9043 9843
Email: [email protected]
Website: carersuk.org

Citizens Advice provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. 

They can provide advice on a range of topics including benefits, work, debt and money, consumer rights, family and housing, law and the courts, immigration and health matters. They value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. 

You can contact Citizens Advice by visiting one of their local branches in 3,500 locations or by:
Web chat: Citizens Advice web chat service
Telephone: England – 0800 144 8848 and Wales – 03444 772 020
Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 144 8884
Website: citizensadvice.org.uk

Contact information for Northern Ireland: citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/northern-ireland/
Contact information for Scotland: cas.org.uk/about-us/contact-cas 

DHSP provides dentists, dental care professionals and students with free advice and support on alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and other health issues. They offer students and dental professionals who are in difficulty an opportunity to remedy their problems. 

If you are concerned about yourself or a colleague, you can contact DHSP by:
Telephone: 020 7224 4671
Email: [email protected]
Website:  dentistshealthsupporttrust.org
Dyspraxia UK is a specialist Occupational Therapy service focused on supporting people with symptoms of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), which is commonly known as Dyspraxia. DCD affects between 6 and 10% of the UK population, around two to three people out of a class of 30. Our team can provide an up-to-date motor skills assessment and provide support in improving manual dexterity and precision.

You can contact Dyspraxia UK by:
Telephone: 01223 967 897 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)

When you're experiencing a mental health problem, supportive and reliable information can change your life. That's what we do. We empower people to understand their condition and the choices available to them through:

  • Our Infoline which offers callers confidential help for the price of a local call
  • Our Legal Line which provides information on mental health related law to the public, service users, family members/carers, mental health professionals and mental health advocates
  • Our award-winning publications and website, now certified by the Information Standard.

You can contact Mind by:

Website: mind.org.uk.
Telephone: 0300 123 3393Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).
Text: 86463
Email: [email protected]

The NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP) is an award winning, free and confidential NHS service for doctors and dental professionals with issues relating to mental or physical health concerns or addiction problems, in particular where these might affect their work.

PHP is a service for doctors and dentists who are unable to access confidential care through mainstream NHS routes due to the nature of their role and/or health condition.

For confidential advice you can contact PHP by:
Telephone: 0300 0303 300
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs has become a major problem. They are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. It is a programme of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using.

They are not affiliated with any other organisations, have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. They are not connected with any political, religious or law enforcement groups, and are under no surveillance at any time.

You can contact NA by:
Telephone: 0300 999 1212
Website: ukna.org

The concept of PASS has been in existence for the past two decades and was introduced to help those dentists who for one reason or another were in need of additional support. It was first designed for those dentists in difficulty to be supported or mentored by experienced colleagues within the same region where they worked and its intention has remained broadly the same.

In most situations it is coordinated and facilitated by Local Dental Committees (LDC) and over the past few years PASS has become an important additional tool in the efforts to address the burgeoning number of complaints or performance issues that colleagues are facing.

Dentists in need of support may self-refer to the PASS coordinator or more commonly be referred to the scheme by the NHS England Area Team Performance Advisory Group. When a colleague has entered the process they are initially assessed and then passed to a member of the PASS team for the most appropriate support. This may simply be signposting but might involve a series of one to one mentoring meetings or perhaps onward referral to Health Education England or medical support.

Funding streams will vary from one scheme to another but there may well be an initial contribution towards the costs from the LDC with further costs being met by the mentee.

The ambition of a PASS is to be able to rehabilitate the dentist in difficulty such that they can continue in practice with their confidence restored and able to further contribute in an effective way within the profession.

Find your Local Dental Committee: Call 020 7935 0875 or email: [email protected].

You can talk to Samaritans at any time about anything that is troubling you. Anything that is disclosed to Samaritans is completely confidential. 

They can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen. 

Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

You can contact Samaritans by:
Telephone: 116 123 (this number is free to call)
Email: [email protected]
Write to: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA
Visit your local Samaritans branch. Find your local branch here and for more information visit samaritans.org

Back in February 2020 stakeholders from dentistry and beyond came together to discuss the well-being of dentists and their teams.

Following this a small group of dedicated colleagues have been collaborating to bring together well-being resources available to the dental team into a single signposting document.

It outlines how to assess your own mental health and wellbeing and provides resources for self-care, including the range of organisations available to support you.

For further information, and to download the guide please visit the Wellbeing Support for the Dental Team website:

supportfordentalteams.org