As dental professionals, we work to the standards of conduct, performance and ethics required by the General Dental Council. This means that we
- Put patients’ interests first
- Communicate effectively with patients
- Obtain valid consent
- Maintain and protect patients’ information
- Have a clear and effective complaints procedure
- Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests
- Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills
- Raise concerns if patients are at risk
- Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession
Putting patients’ interests first
- To be listened to and have their preferences and concerns taken into account.
- To be treated as individuals and have their cultures and values respected.
- That all members of the dental team will be honest and act with integrity.
- That all aspects of their health and well-being will be considered and they will receive dental care that is appropriate for them.
- To be treated in a clean and safe environment.
- That reasonable adjustments will be made for any disabilities.
- That their interests will be put before financial gain and business need.
- Redress if they suffer harm during dental treatment.
- That their dental pain and anxiety will be managed appropriately.
- Listen to you.
- Treat you with dignity and respect at all times.
- Be honest and act with integrity.
- Take a holistic and preventative approach to your care which is appropriate to you.
- Treat you in a hygienic and safe environment.
- Treat you fairly, as individuals and without discrimination.
- Put your interests before our own or those of any colleague, business or organisation.
- Have appropriate arrangements in place for you to seek compensation if you suffer harm.
- Find out about laws and regulations that affect our work and follow them
Communicate effectively with patients
- To receive full, clear and accurate information that they can understand, before, during and after treatment, so that they can make informed decisions in partnership with the people providing their care.
- A clear explanation of the treatment, possible outcomes and what they can expect.
- To know how much their treatment will cost before it starts, and to be told about any changes.
- Communication that they can understand.
- To know the names of those providing their care.
- Communicate effectively with you – listen to you, give you time to consider information and take your views and communication needs into account.
- Recognise and promote your rights to and responsibilities for making decisions about your health priorities and care.
- Give you the information you need, in a way you can understand, so that you can make informed decisions.
- Give you clear information about costs.
Obtain valid consent
Patients expect to be asked for their consent to treatment before it starts.
- Obtain valid consent before starting treatment, explaining all the relevant options and the possible costs.
- Make sure that you (or your representatives) understand the decisions you are being asked to make.
- Make sure that your consent remains valid at each stage of investigation or treatment.
Maintain and protect patients’ information
- Their records to be up to date, complete, clear, accurate and legible.
- Their personal details to be kept confidential.
- To be able to access their dental records.
- Their records to be stored securely.
- Make and keep contemporaneous, complete and accurate patient records.
- Protect the confidentiality of your information and only use it for the purpose for which it was given.
- Only release your information without your permission in exceptional circumstances.
- Ensure that you can have access to their records.
- Keep your information secure at all times, whether your records are held on paper or electronically.
Have a clear and effective complaints procedure
Patients expect their concerns or complaints to be acknowledged, listened to and dealt with promptly.
- Make sure that there is an effective complaints procedure readily available for you to use, and we will follow that procedure at all times.
- Respect your right to complain.
- Give you, if you complain, a prompt and constructive response.
Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests
- To be fully informed of the different roles of the dental professionals involved in their care.
- That members of the dental team will work effectively together.
- Work effectively with our colleagues and contribute to good teamwork.
- Be appropriately supported when treating you.
- Delegate and refer appropriately and effectively.
- Only accept a referral or delegation if we are trained and competent to carry out the treatment and believe that what we are being asked to do is appropriate for you.
- Communicate clearly and effectively with other team members and colleagues in your interests.
- Demonstrate effective management and leadership skills for the teams that we manage.
Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills
- To receive good quality care.
- That all members of the dental team:
- are appropriately trained and qualified;
- keep their skills up to date;
- know their limits and refer patients as appropriate; and
- work within current laws and regulations.
- Provide good quality care based on current evidence and authoritative guidance.
- Work within our knowledge, skills, professional competence and abilities.
- Update and develop our professional knowledge and skills throughout our working life.
Raise concerns if patients are at risk
- That the dental team will act promptly to protect their safety if there are concerns about the health, performance or behaviour of a dental professional or the environment where treatment is provided.
- That a dental professional will raise any concerns about the welfare of vulnerable patients.
- Always put your safety first.
- Act promptly if you or colleagues are at risk and take measures to protect you or them.
- Make sure that we encourage and support a culture where our staff can raise concerns openly and without fear of reprisal.
- Make sure that we have an effective procedure in place for raising concerns, that the procedure is readily available to all staff and that it is followed at all times.
- Take appropriate action if we have concerns about the possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults.
Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession
- That all members of the dental team will maintain appropriate personal and professional behaviour.
- That they can trust and have confidence in you as a dental professional.
- That they can trust and have confidence in the dental profession
- Ensure that our conduct, both at work and in our personal lives, justifies your trust in us and in the dental profession.
- Protect you and colleagues from risks posed by our health, conduct or performance.
- Inform the GDC if we are subject to criminal proceedings or a regulatory finding is made against us anywhere in the world.
- Co-operate with any relevant formal or informal inquiry and give full and truthful information.
Produced February 2021
Review February 2022
 General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8DQ. Web: www.gdc-uk.org