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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 Four

Maintain and protect patients' information


Frequently asked questions

​ ​In exceptional circumstances, you may be justified in releasing confidential patient information without the patient’s consent if doing so in the best interests of the public or the patient. This could happen if a patient puts their own safety or that of others at serious risk, of if the information about a patient could be important in preventing or detecting a serious crime. You should always contact your defence organisation for advice before deciding to release patient information without consent.

Under the new data protection regulations (GDPR), practices can no longer charge patients a fee for first copies of their personal data and records in most circumstances. For more information please see the ICO website:

​You should make sure that your complaint procedure:

  • is straightforward
  • allows you to deal with complaints promptly and efficiently;
  • allows you to investigate complaints in a full and fair way;
  • allows information that can be used to improve services to pass back to your practice management or equivalent; and
  • respects patients’ confidentiality.

You should also make sure that all staff are trained in handling complaints. Your leaflet or other written information should:

  • be clearly written in plain language
  • be easy for patients to understand and follow;
  • include time limits so that patients know how long the process may take;
  • explain the possible outcomes;
  • include information on other independent organisations that patients can contact to raise concerns;
  • be available in other formats if needed.

​Yes, you would need the patient’s consent both to the taking of the photographs and to their use in promoting your practice.

If you want to use patient information such as photographs for any reason, you must:

  • explain to the patient how the information or images will be used;
  • check the patient understands what they are agreeing to;
  • obtain and record the patient’s consent to their use;
  • only release or use the minimum information necessary for the purpose; and
  • explain to the patient that they can withdraw their permission at any time.

Yes you are able to access patient records in this way. However, you must make sure that patients’ information is not revealed accidentally and that no-one has unauthorised access to it by storing it securely at all times.

You should also ensure that any confidential information sent electronically is secure.