Principle 8

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  • Raise concerns if patients are at risk
    • Patients expect...
      • That the dental team will act promptly if there are concerns about the health/ performance/ behaviour of a dental professional, or the environment
      • That a dental professional will raise any concerns about the welfare of vulnerable patients
    • Standards...
      • 8.1 Must put patients' safety first
        • Must raise a concern if patient is at risk due to....
          • Health of colleague
          • Behaviour of colleague
            • e.g. someone is asking you to do something that conflicts with patient's best interests
          • Professional performance of colleague
          • The environment where treatment is provided
        • Must raise the concern even if you are not in a position to control or influence your working environment
        • Your duty to raise concerns overrides any personal and professional loyalties
          • Must not enter into any contract with a gagging clause that prevents you from raising concerns about patient safety, or restrict what you could say when raising a concern
      • 8.2 Must act promptly if patients or colleagues are at risk, and take measures to protect them
        • Must act promptly. This could mean poor practice is tackled quickly and hence reduce risk to patient safety
          • If you're not sure whether to raise the concern, consider the short-term/long-term implications of not raising it. If in doubt, you must raise your concern.
            • If you fail to raise a concern, your own registration could be at risk
            • Should raise the concern with your employer or manager. Not always possible (e.g. if they are the source of your concern, or they fail to act on your concern)
              • If this happens you must raise your concerns with your local commissioner of health or with the appropriate body i.e. the Care Quality Commission
                • Of course, you could also get advice from your defence organisation
                • If you think patients need to be protected from a dental professional registered with the GDC, you must refer your concern to us. Do this when action at local level has failed or the problem is so severe e.g. indecency, violence, dishonesty, serious crime, illegal practice or e.g. there is a genuine fear of victimisation or deliberate concealment, or you believe the registrant is not fit to practice due to  health/ performance / conduct.
                  • Must refer concerns about other healthcare professionals to the relevant regulator
        • If the investigation shows there was no problem, the fact you raised the concern should not be held against you, as long as you were justified in raising the concern
      • 8.3 If you employ, manage or lead a team you must support a culture where staff can raise concerns openly and without fear of reprisal
        • Must promote a culture of openess so staff feel able to raise concerns
          • Should embed this culture into your policies and procedures, beginning with staff induction
          • Should encourage all staff, including temporary staff and staff of different sites and locums to raise concerns about the safety of patients
        • Must not offer staff contracts including a gagging clause that would prevent them from raising concerns or limit what they can when raising a concern
      • 8.4 Must be an effective procedure in place for raising concerns. Must be readily available to all staff and must be followed at all times
        • Must have written procedures in place to enable staff members to raise concerns. This means...
          • adhering to current laws and regulations
          • supporting staff members who raise concerns
          • Taking steps to tackle any shortfalls in the standards / performances of staff
          • Having systems in place for staff who may have problems with health, behaviour or professional performance
        • When a member of your team has raised a concern you must...
          • takes the concerns seriously
          • maintain confidentiality where appropriate
          • investigate promptly and properly and make an unbiased assessment of the concern
          • keep the staff member who raised the concern updated on the progress. If you don't take action explain why not
            • ensure you monitor the action you take to solve the problem
      • 8.5 Must take appropriate action if you have concerns about the possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults
        • Must raise concerns about abuse or neglect. You must know who to contact for further advice, and how to refer concerns to an appropriate authority e.g. your local social services department
          • Must find out the local procedures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults, and follow these procedures

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