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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


Learning Material Case Study

Personal Behaviour Personal Behaviour

​Miss Jones was a dental nurse working at a large practice in London. When she was a student she had sometimes smoked cannabis.

Ten years before she registered with the GDC, she was convicted of possessing 16.9 grams of cannabis resin and to pay a fine of £80.

When she registered with the GDC, she was asked to declare on the application form whether she had ever been convicted of a criminal offence and she ticked the ‘no’ box, as the conviction was from ten years ago. She mentioned this to another dental nurse at the practice where she now works who suggested that she should tell the GDC that she lied on the form. Miss Jones wrote to the GDC and the case was considered by a fitness to practise caseworker.

The fitness to practise caseworker considered that Miss Jones may have breached a number of the standards and guidance in Standards for the Dental Team including (but not limited to):

  • 1.3 You must be honest and act with integrity.
  • 1.3.2 You must make sure you do not bring the profession into disrepute.
  • 9.1 You must ensure that your conduct, both at work and in your personal life, justifies patients’ trust in you and the public’s trust in the dental profession.

The Investigating Committee thought that her failure to declare her conviction when she registered was misleading and possibly dishonest and decided to refer her to the Professional Conduct Committee.

The Investigating Committee was also concerned about the conviction itself as it related to drugs offences.

When the Conduct Committee considered the case, it recognised that Miss Jones thought the conviction was spent and so she was not necessarily deliberately trying to conceal her conviction. They thought her conduct was careless and misleading rather than dishonest. The committee also praised her insight and honesty in bringing the issue to the attention of the GDC, particularly when it exposed her to considerable risk of action being taken against her registration.

The committee found that Miss Jones’ fitness to practise was not impaired. This was largely down to the fact that she had self-referred in the way that she did. The committee stated that if she had not done this and the information had come to light in another way, then the consequences could have been more serious.

As a registrant you are expected to be honest and to act with integrity at all times. You are also expected to demonstrate insight. Miss Jones should have declared her conviction to us when she registered, but the recognition of her error and her demonstration of insight into her failings by deciding to report her omission to us was looked on favourably by the committee. It is always best to be honest.

Both Standard 9.3 and Guidance on reporting criminal proceedings make clear that you need to tell us when you have been charged, cautioned, or convicted of a criminal offence. As a registrant you are expected to demonstrate appropriate standards of behaviour at all times, to justify the trust that your patients and the public place in you and the profession.