Care for the carers
The work of a dental care professional (DCP) largely centres on helping other people – treating patients, perhaps helping them to overcome dental anxiety, contributing to the daily running of the practice and assisting colleagues. The term ‘dental care professional’ is not misleading – ‘care’ is central to the role and in many ways is synonymous with ‘help’.
But who helps the helpers and cares about the carers? And where do we go when we need advice or support in our professional lives? There are many sides to our work that extend beyond the usual demands of daily duties. These can range from problems with meeting the CPD (continuous professional development) requirements to acquiring appropriate insurance or understanding and complying with the endless standards and regulations.
CPD is seen as a positive for many, although of course it is a mandatory element for all dental professionals throughout their careers and not something that can be avoided. The many hours dedicated to CPD and the costs involved can be considerable, particularly as tax relief is not available despite the recent BADN (British Association of Dental Nurses) campaign. For DCPs who have to fund CPD themselves, it can be an additional and worrying burden.
Another essential aspect for DCPs to think about is appropriate indemnity insurance. The GDC (General Dental Council) guidance on indemnity insurance, effective from 30 September 2013, states: ‘If you are relying on arrangements made by your employer, you must check the indemnity position with them. You must not make any assumptions about whether or not you are covered by their arrangements – you must always check…’ (General Dental Council, 2013).
Ensuring adequate and appropriate insurance is not only vital for your own personal protection in the case of a patient complaint, it is also a requirement of the GDC Standards for the Dental Team, which declare that you ‘must have appropriate arrangements in place for patients to seek compensation if they suffer harm’ (GDC, 2013). Further stressing its importance, in the 2012 GDC annual report, the fourth most common reason for a hearing with the Professional Conduct Committee (PPC) was a lack of indemnity insurance (General Dental Council, 2012).
Help is at hand
These are just some of the important professional obligations that need our careful attention as DCPs, and they can add to the considerable demands already placed on our time and resources. Fortunately, help is available through various organisations that can offer guidance and assistance on various areas, including training, compliance and insurance. One such provider is DBG, one of the UK’s largest outsourced healthcare providers, its annual membership provides access to help and support, with a dedicated member’s area and discounts on a variety of services.
The smile on the face of a grateful patient can make all the difference to the working day, and when you know there is somewhere for you to go for help and advice too, it will make that day even better.
GDC. (2013) Standards for the Dental Team, [Online] Available: https://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Pages/standards.aspx [Accessed 20 May 2014]
General Dental Council. (2012) Annual reports and accounts 2012, [Online] Available: http://www.gdc-uk.org/newsandpublications/publications/publications/gdc%20annual%20report%20and%20accounts%202012.pdf [Accessed 6th March 2014]
General Dental Council. (2013) Guidance on indemnity, [Online] Available: https://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Documents/Guidance%20on%20indemnity%20(Sept%202013).pdf [Accessed 20 May 2014]