Dentists open for lifelong lessons

May 26, 2000

The General Dental Council is the statutory regulatory body of the UK dental profession. It is responsible for overseeing educational and professional standards. Dentists who fail to meet these can be disciplined by the GDC and struck off the Dentists Register.

Ros Hepplewhite is chief executive and registrar of the GDC, a vice-chairman of the UK Inter-Professional Group and a member of the steering group of the Professional Associations Research Network.

She said: "Last month the council launched a continuing professional development initiative, or recertification scheme. This will require all dentists to undertake CPD throughout their careers. It will start with a preparatory scheme in October and will become compulsory (legislation permitting) from January 2002.

"Those who fail to meet the requirements once the scheme is statutory may be erased from the register. To comply, dentists must undertake 250 hours of CPD over a five-year period.

"This month, the council agreed new arrangements aimed at preventing, recognising and dealing with poor performance in dentistry through a UK-wide performance review scheme. To bring in the scheme, the 1984 Dentists Act will have to be changed. The council will ask the government to do this through the order-making power in the 1999 Health Act.

"Non-dentists will play a crucial role in assessing dentists. Those found wanting may be ordered to undertake education and training, restrict the scope of their practice or stop practising."

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