The scope of your practice
The Scope of Practice sets out the skills and abilities each registrant group should have. It is not an exhaustive list of all tasks that someone can do. Your scope of practice is likely to change over the course of your career, whether because of changes in the technology of dentistry, or your further training and development.
The Scope of Practice also describes additional skills that you might develop after registration to increase your scope of practice. You may expand your scope by developing additional skills, or you may deepen your knowledge of a particular area by choosing more specialised practice.
You should only carry out a task or type of treatment or make decisions about a patient’s care if you are sure that you have the necessary skills and are appropriately trained, competent and indemnified. If you are unclear exactly what this means you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I trained to carry out this task or treatment?
- Do I feel competent to carry out this task or treatment?
- Am I indemnified/practice covered to carry out this task or treatment?
If a task, type of treatment or decision is outside your scope of practice or you do not feel that you are trained and competent to do it, you must refer the patient to an appropriately trained colleague. You must practise in accordance with the Council’s standards document Standards for the Dental Team at all times.
Scope of Practice guidance review
Our Scope of Practice guidance sets out the skills and abilities that every dental care professional should have. The guidance was introduced in 2009 to support those dental care professionals who had joined the register a year earlier. We reviewed the guidance in 2013, and reissued an updated version on the introduction of direct access.
The Scope of Practice guidance asks dental professionals to ensure that they are trained, competent and indemnified, before carrying out any clinical or other support to patients. As part of our efforts to be less prescriptive and to put more trust in the judgement of dental professionals, we are again reviewing our Scope of Practice guidance.
The first step was to undertake research to understand how the guidance is used, what the impacts of the guidance have been, and to ask what its future
should be. The full report is available on our research page. In September 2020 we held an online event to consider the findings in more detail. You can watch a recording of the event below.
Examining the findings of our research
Video: We held a live online event on 24 September to examine the findings of our research on the Scope of Practice guidance.
Progress in 2021
In February 2021, representatives from key stakeholder organisations joined us on virtual workshops to discuss options for updating and modernising our Scope of Practice guidance. Together, we explored the issues practitioners encounter when using the guidance and looked at the potential different options for presenting the scope of practice of the dental team, with a focus on options that will deliver improvements to the current format and content of the guidance.
Building on the valuable feedback we received, and with an aim of modernising the guidance, in June and August of 2021, we held a series of virtual workshops with dental professionals and stakeholder organisations to help us develop the structure and content for each of the dental professions’ scope of practice.
Based on the feedback received from the workshops, we made a number of changes to the draft revised SoP guidance before it was presented to the GDC’s Council. In October 2021, the Council approved the draft to go out for a full public consultation.
In early 2022, we will confirm when the SoP consultation will be launched, taking into account other consultations from both the Department and Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the GDC. This will also take into account when we will be able to introduce the revised SoP guidance.
We will continue to update this page as we progress with the work.