Filling You In: The New Dental Council Code

Author:Mr Tom Hayes
Profession:Matheson Ormsby Prentice

In February 2012, the Dental Council published an updated Code of Practice on Professional Behaviour and Ethical Conduct (the "Code"). The Code introduces new guidelines covering diverse issues, ranging from an obligation to display a complaints procedure to the use of social media. It reinforces that dentists must ensure that patients understand the diagnosis, treatment plan, likely outcome, costs and alternative treatment options. Dentists are also obliged to advise of the nature and associated risks of treatments that are new, untested or do not have a sound evidence base. Dentists who are treating adult patients who lack the mental capacity to give consent should consult the appropriate carer / guardian with capacity, to reach agreement about treatment, having due regard to the patient's best interests. Where an adverse event occurs the Code obliges dentists to respond openly, honestly and professionally to any questions asked by a patient, or their carer / guardian about the event. Dentists must display details of their complaints procedure, so that patients can identify how to make a complaint, to whom and how the practice will deal with it. The Code obliges dentists to make reasonable efforts to inform patients if the practice is closing or changing ownership. Dentists must now also have adequate...

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