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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

Treating patients with respect Treating patients with respect

The GDC received a complaint from a patient about a dentist's behaviour during her son's appointment.

The patient complained that the dentist had lost his temper at the son having broken his orthodontic appliance. She said the dentist accused her of lying about how the appliance came to break, and that the dentist threw the broken appliance across the surgery at her. She also said that the dentist regularly shouted at his dental nurses during appointments.

The fitness to practise caseworker asked the patient to provide the dates of the incidents she was reporting and details of what was said. The caseworker felt Mr Thompson may have breached Standards, including the following:

  • 1.2 You must treat every patient with dignity and respect at all times
  • 1.2.1 You should be aware of how your tone of voice and body language might be perceived
  • 1.2.3 You must treat patients with kindness and compassion
  • 1.3.2 You must make sure you do not bring the profession into disrepute
  • 6.1.2 You must treat colleagues fairly and with respect, in all situations and all forms of interaction and communication. You must not bully harass, or unfairly discriminate against them.

The case was referred to the Investigating Committee, who felt it should be referred to the Professional Conduct Committee for consideration.

The Professional Conduct Committee determined that the dentist had behaved unacceptably towards the patient, and dental nurses. They determined that his behaviour amounted to misconduct, and issued a reprimand.

‚ÄčUnprofessional communication can lead to a referral to the Professional Conduct Committee

Working in a busy and pressured environment is challenging, but you must remain professional, and must communicate with patients in a respectful way.

You also have a responsibility to communicate respectfully with colleagues. This is for your colleagues' sake, and because how you speak with colleagues impacts on patient's views of the profession.

Unprofessional and disrespectful communication can compromise a patient's experience, and can bring the profession into disrepute.