• Exploring new ways for setting standards and guidance

As a key part of our role in patient protection, the GDC has a statutory duty to set and publish guidance detailing the expected standards of conduct, performance, and practice for dental professionals.

At the core of the current guidance is the Standards for the Dental Team, which sets out the standards of conduct, performance and ethics that govern dental professionals in the United Kingdom. This guidance, however, is now 10 years old and requires reviewing to ensure that changes in society, practice and patient expectations are reflected.

Based on discussions with a range of professionals at different stages of their careers, and the findings from the independent research we commissioned on professionalism in dentistry, we believe that the current format and structure of the standards limits the impact of the content and does not lend itself well to effective embedding within practice.

We believe any review of the guidance should seek to identify the most effective approach to set out the standards expected that allows dental professionals to interact with them in a meaningful and helpful way, so that patient protection and public confidence in dentistry is maintained.

Also, given the clear link between professionalism and standards (as highlighted by the research above), we believe any review of the guidance should also consider how best it could support dental professionals to exercise their professional judgement to achieve the best outcome for patients.

This approach reflects the ambition we set out in Shifting the balance (published in 2017) to change the way we regulate by moving towards a more supportive model of regulation that focuses on preventing harm to patients and supporting public confidence in the dental profession, rather than responding to the consequences of when things go wrong. 

We are therefore holding an engagement exercise over a number of months to explore with our stakeholders:

  • The goals that any model of guidance and standards should achieve
  • The benefits and challenges of the current Standards of the Dental Team
  • An example new model of guidance centred around principles of professionalism
  • Any other potential alternative models to consider
  • The support various stakeholders will need if any changes are made to the current model