Industrial action guidance

Dental professionals are legally entitled to take part in lawful industrial action, including strike action. The decision to hold industrial action is a matter for the trade unions and their members.

However, we believe it is important to provide guidance to dental professionals who may be considering taking industrial action and to be clear about professionals’ responsibilities against GDC standards under these special circumstances.

Whilst dental professionals will not find themselves at risk of regulatory action simply by having exercised their right to take lawful industrial action, any dental professional participating in strike action remains responsible for upholding GDC Standards. This means that dental professionals must continue to put patients’ interests first, and work effectively with colleagues to do so where needed. 

During periods of industrial action we advise that dental professionals plan for their absence by taking steps to ensure arrangements are in place to maintain the continuity of patient care to the highest possible standard. This includes supporting arrangements that their practice or employer may make for patient care.

We also understand that dental professionals may face challenging situations during strike action even when they are not participating directly, for example in the event of staff shortages. In these situations, as always, we would expect dental professionals to use their professional judgement to assess risks and determine safe, effective routes for care provision.

Lastly, dental professionals are reminded of their obligations in the standards to treat colleagues fairly and with respect, in all situations, and to adhere to 
our guidance on the use of social media at all times.​