The Dentist Magazine.

Patient protection is at the heart of dental education

Published: 05/04/2017

The General Dental Council (GDC) has published its Annual Review of Education 2014-16, to share good practice and learning in dental education across the United Kingdom.

The Annual Review of Education details the work the GDC has carried out to quality assure education and training programmes for dentists or dental care professionals (DCPs). During the two academic years, the GDC conducted a total of 66 visits. The report identified good practice, areas for development and learning points for both education providers and the GDC. Areas of good practice include a robust approach to professionalism by offering students pre-clinical training and placing a strong emphasis on providing regular training for staff.

The report also outlined that patient protection is at the heart of programmes across the United Kingdom, for example, some programmes carried out roleplay workshops to explore the GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team, with the patients played by actors. 

Some of the areas for development for learning providers include:
•    Receiving and using meaningful feedback from patients to inform student development. 
•    Making sure students are able to provide a service to a sufficient number of patients from a range of age groups and backgrounds that have different treatment needs.

These will be key points of development within the sector and the GDC will be engaging with education providers to help them to keep improving the training of dental professionals across the United Kingdom. A part of this will be reviewing the GDC’s approach to quality assurance to ensure that it is applying its resources in the right places as part of the plans to reform dental regulation, set out in Shifting the Balance: a better, fairer system of dental regulation.

Ian Brack, chief executive and registrar, said, “The GDC welcomes the focus on patient protection for education providers, which reflects the first principle for the dental team: put patients’ interests first. This focus will help to prepare students for professional life as dentists or dental care professionals. 

“However, as noted in previous annual reviews, many providers are not presenting a full map of their programmes against the GDC’s learning outcomes and, to improve, there needs to be a more detailed and thorough detailing of the assessments taking place. We would also like to see clear and consistent procedures in place for concerns to be raised, incidents monitored and recorded.”

Read the full Annual Review of Education 2014-16 at

Read Bill Moyes’ blog about the review at