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Principle One

Put patient's interests first


Principle Two

Communicate effectively with patients


Principle Three

Obtain valid consent


Principle Four

Maintain and protect patients' information


Principle Five

Have a clear and effective complaints procedure


Principle Six

Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients' best interests


Principle Seven

Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills


Principle Eight

Raise concerns if patients are at risk


Principle Nine

Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients' confidence in you and the dental profession


Principle One

Put patients' interests first


Learning Material Case Study


Mrs Patel is a dentist who registered with the GDC in 2001. Between December 2009 and June 2011 she practised dentistry without having appropriate professional indemnity cover in place.

She continued to treat patients at the practice, despite not having any appropriate cover in place. The Primary Care Trust asked for proof of her indemnity on numerous occasions and she admitted that she did not have any cover in place. The PCT wrote to the GDC and the case was assessed by a fitness to practise caseworker.

The fitness to practise caseworker considered that Mrs Patel mayhave breached a standard in Standards for the Dental Team.

1.8 You must have appropriate arrangements in place for patients to seek compensation if they have suffered harm.

The Investigating Committee thought that Mrs Patel’s behaviour had been unacceptable and referred her to the Professional Conduct Committee.

The Conduct Committee thought that Mrs Patel had breached a number of the fundamental principles to which all dental professionals must adhere. The Committee was concerned by Mrs Patel’s complete lack of insight into her failings and her lack of understanding of the importance of having appropriate indemnity or insurance in place.

The committee was in no doubt that Mrs Patel’s actions and omissions amounted to misconduct and it decided to erase her from the GDC register.

Practising dentistry without appropriate indemnity cover in place means that patients cannot claim compensation if something goes wrong. Our Guidance on Indemnity sets out the types of cover we think are acceptable.

If you are a practising dentist, hygienist, therapist, clinical dental technician or orthodontic therapist then you should have your own policy that covers all the risks associated with your work. If you are employed by the National Health Service, you are likely to be covered for any work you carry out as part of that employment but you should check that this is the case.

If you are a dental nurse or a dental technician, you don't necessarily need your own cover as you might be covered on your employer’s policy however it is your responsibility to check that you are covere. It would also be a good idea to ask for proof that you are covered. You might want to think about taking out your own cover as your employer's cover is unlikely to help you if someone makes a complaint about you to us.