Latest updates from the GDC - September 2021

Number of registered dental care professionals remains stable

The renewal period for dental care professionals (DCPs) has now closed. Thank you to all those who successfully completed the process.

The number of registered DCPs in the UK has remained stable at 69,625 at the beginning of August, an increase on the 2020 figure of 68,871. Around 12% of eligible DCPs took up the new pay by instalments option. Find out more about these numbers in Understanding the number of dental professionals on our registers, a new blog post from Gurvinder Soomal, Chief Operating Officer.

DCPs who did not manage to renew their registration on time may want to consider restoration. Details on how to rejoin the register are on our website.

Ban on botulinum toxin and cosmetic fillers for under 18s in England 

From 1 October 2021 it will be a criminal offence to administer botulinum toxin, or a filler, by way of injection, for cosmetic purposes to a person under 18 years of age in England. The new law applies to everyone in England, including registered dental professionals. Dentists may administer the treatments to a person under 18 years of age only when acting under the directions of a registered medical practitioner.

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided a factsheet detailing the changes and what practitioners will need to do differently to ensure compliance, including verifying age.

COVID-19 vaccination requirements to care home entry in England 

From 11 November 2021, all registered dental professionals will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter a Care Quality Commission registered care home for the purposes of providing dental care services or treatment, unless medically exempt, or in exceptional circumstances, such as the need to provide emergency assistance.

The new regulations are supported by operational guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care. NHS England and NHS Improvement has provided notification and FAQs on how vaccination status can be evidenced and how the system will be delivered operationally.  

Make a CPD declaration, even if it’s zero 

Around 2,400 dental care professionals (DCPs) did not make a CPD declaration by the deadline this year, even though they had paid their annual renewal fee. We are now contacting DCPs in this position to let them know their registration is at risk, and that they now need to submit a completed compliant declaration in order to remain registered.

The extra work required can be avoided. All dental professionals must make a CPD statement every year. Under the Enhanced CPD Scheme, dental professionals can declare zero hours of CPD in a year, providing that they complete at least 10 hours of verifiable CPD during any two-year period.

Find out more on the options dental professional have for declaring CPD and keeping their skills and knowledge up to date, by reading the Enhanced CPD scheme guidance on our website.

New arrangement to support dental professionals in difficulty (England) 

Health Education England (HEE) will no longer be providing support to dental professional involved in fitness to practise proceedings from 1 October 2021. Support from HEE will continue for those who already have it in place, those who agree to undertakings with a case examiner, or those who have conditions imposed by a practice committee on or before 30 September. New arrangements will be in place by 1 October in England only.

We are taking the opportunity afforded by HEE’s decision to review and update our approach to development support. We’re making improvements to the supporting documentation and guidance we give to dental professionals and are working to ensure that dental professionals have more control and choice over who provides their support and advice. We are currently working with stakeholders to finalise the arrangements and will be making further announcements before the end of the month.

GDC response to proposals for a Statutory Duty of Candour in Northern Ireland

We have submitted our response to the Department of Health’s consultation on the proposed Statutory Duty of Candour in Northern Ireland. We support the statutory organisational duty of candour, but suggest that the individual duty should remain a professional one embedded in the standards for the dental team. For our full response to the consultation visit our Consultations and responses page.

Changing how we assured education standards to meet the challenges of COVID-19

Responding to the COVID-19 challenge, we developed a bespoke risk-based quality assurance process for the 2020/21 graduating dental cohort, which focussed on targeted evidence requests and analysis from all BDS and hygiene and therapy education providers. Results have been very positive, with roughly 97% of BDS students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales graduating. Scotland postponed all BDS graduations, with providers working to develop meaningful programmes and additional qualifications for those undertaking an extra year of study.

To find out more about our role in the quality assurance of education in our blog post from the Manjula Das, Head of Education Policy and Quality Assurance.

MHRA notification of unlawful sales of unlicensed medicine – PerioFocus

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has notified us that a product manufactured by Global Dental Transfer Ltd., a company based in Israel, has been sold to dentists in the UK.

The product, PerioFocus biodegradable periodontal chip containing chlorhexidine gluconate, is marketed as a medical device. Global Dental Transfer does not have a UK distributor and has no presence in the UK. An identical product, the Periochip 2.5mg Dental Insert, is manufactured by the UK Dexcel-Pharma Ltd., and is licensed as a medicine.

The import of an unlicensed medicine in the course of business is a breach of UK regulations (in the absence of a licence to import unlicensed medicines). All dental professionals are reminded to only use UK licensed medicines to treat dental patients. Further guidance is available from the UK Government website.

Publication of statutory reports 

Our annual reports on GDC registration figures and GDC fitness to practise investigations and hearings for 2020 have now been published on our website.

The Whistleblowing Prescribed Persons Annual Reports 2019/20, which includes a report from the GDC (and all other UK healthcare professional regulators), has also been published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Skills.