Work with colleagues in a way that serves the interests of patients
- 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
Standards & their guidance
- 6.1.1 You should ensure that any team you are involved in works together to provide appropriate dental care for your patients.
- 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.
- 6.1.3 You must treat colleagues fairly in all financial transactions.
- 6.1.4 You must value and respect the contribution of all team members.
- 6.1.5 You must ensure that patients are fully informed of the names and roles of the dental professionals involved in their care.
- 6.1.6 As a registered dental professional, you could be held responsible for the actions of any member of your team who does not have to register with the GDC (for example, receptionists, practice managers or laboratory assistants). You should ensure that they are appropriately trained and competent.
- 6.2.1 You must not provide treatment if you feel that the circumstances make it unsafe for patients.
- 6.2.2 You should work with another appropriately trained member of the dental team at all times when treating patients in a dental setting. The only circumstances in which this does not apply are when:
‘Exceptional circumstances’ are unavoidable circumstances which are not routine and could not have been foreseen. Absences due to leave or training are not exceptional circumstances.
- treating patients in an out of hours emergency,
- providing treatment as part of a public health programme, or
- there are exceptional circumstances.
- 6.2.3 If there are exceptional circumstances which mean you cannot work with an appropriately trained member of the dental team when treating a patient in a dental setting, you must assess the possible risk to the patient of continuing treatment.
- 6.2.4 If you are providing treatment in a hospital setting you should be supported by a GDC registrant or a registrant of another healthcare regulator.
- 6.2.5 If you are providing treatment in a care or domiciliary setting you should be supported by a GDC registrant or an appropriately trained care professional.
- 6.2.6 Medical emergencies can happen at any time. You must make sure that there is at least one other person available within the working environment to deal with medical emergencies when you are treating patients. In exceptional circumstances the second person could be a receptionist or a person accompanying the patient.
- 6.3.1 You can delegate the responsibility for a task but not the accountability. This means that, although you can ask someone to carry out a task for you, you could still be held accountable if something goes wrong. You should only delegate or refer to another member of the team if you are confident that they have been trained and are both competent and indemnified to do what you are asking. For more information, see the ‘Scope of Practice’ document.
- 6.3.2 If you delegate a task to another member of the team who does not feel that they are trained or competent to carry it out, you must not take advantage of your position by pressurising them into accepting the task.
- 6.3.3 You should refer patients on if the treatment required is outside your scope of practice or competence. You should be clear about the procedure for doing this.
- 6.3.4 If you ask a colleague to provide treatment, a dental appliance, or clinical advice for a patient, you should make your request clear and give your colleague all the information they need.
- 6.3.5 If you need to refer a patient to someone else for treatment, you must explain the referral process to the patient and make sure that it is recorded in their notes.
- 6.4.1 If a colleague asks you to provide treatment, a dental appliance, or clinical advice for a patient, you must ensure that you are clear about what you are being asked to do and that you have the knowledge and skills to do it.
- 6.4.2 If you do not think that what you have been asked to do is appropriate, you should discuss this with the colleague who asked you to do it. You should only go ahead if you are satisfied that what you have been asked to do is appropriate. If you are not sure, you should seek advice from your professional association or defence organisation.
- 6.5.1 You should document any discussions you have with colleagues about a patient’s treatment, including any decisions you have reached or changed, in that patient’s notes.
- 6.6.1 You should make sure that all team members, including those not registered with the GDC, have:
- a proper induction when they first join the team;
- performance management, including regular appraisals;
- opportunities to learn and develop;
- a hygienic and safe working environment;
- a work environment that is not discriminatory;
- opportunities to provide feedback; and
- a way to raise concerns.
- 6.6.2 You should make sure that relevant team members are appropriately registered with the GDC or another healthcare regulator, appropriately in-training to be registered with the GDC or another healthcare regulator and that those who are registered with the GDC are also indemnified.
- 6.6.3 You should encourage all team members, including those not registered with the GDC, to follow the guidance in this document, as well as following it yourself.
- 6.6.4 You should make sure that you communicate regularly with all members of the team and that all members of the team are involved and included as appropriate.
- 6.6.5 You must encourage, support and facilitate the continuing professional development (CPD) of your dental team.
- 6.6.6 Medical emergencies can happen at any time in a dental practice. You must make sure that:
- there are arrangements for at least two people to be available within the working environment to deal with medical emergencies when treatment is planned to take place;
- all members of staff, including those not registered with the GDC, know their role if there is a medical emergency; and
- all members of staff who might be involved in dealing with a medical emergency are trained and prepared to do so at any time, and practise together regularly in a simulated emergency so they know exactly what to do.
- 6.6.7 You should ensure your team has:
- good leadership;
- clear, shared aims; and
- an understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
- 6.6.8 You should ensure that all the members of your team understand their roles and responsibilities, including what decisions and actions have, and have not, been delegated to them.
- 6.6.9 You should discuss all new policies and procedures with your colleagues so that everybody understands them and make sure that all team members are aware of their responsibility to comply with them.
- 6.6.10 You should display information about the members of your team (including their registration number where appropriate), in an area where it can be easily seen by patients.
- 6.6.11 You should display the following information in an area where it can be easily seen by patients:
- the fact that you are regulated by the GDC
- the nine principles contained in this document.
Learning Material & case studies
Case Studies for principle 6
Frequently Asked Questions