Latest guidance for dental professionals regarding COVID-19 from the General Dental Council (GDC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) confirms that the decision to offer dental care services is one for the provider to take.
The GDC stated that it has ‘no powers to direct a professional either to offer treatment or to refuse to offer treatment’, while the CQC stated that it ‘cannot require providers of dental care services to close’ unless they find clear evidence of a breach of its regulations.
The GDC acknowledged that it has received questions from professionals in private dental practice about whether they are able to continue to see their patients who have urgent dental treatment needs, and whether this might put their registration at risk.
They stated, “That decision can only be taken by the professional responsible. As always, all professionals should work in a way which ensures the health, safety and wellbeing of their patients and colleagues and should only provide treatment where it is safe for them to do so.”
The GDC also stated that the process of determining whether it is safe will involve carrying out the necessary risk assessments and having regard to relevant guidance issued by professional bodies, the Government, other statutory bodies and the NHS.
The GDC added, “As is always the case, should a concern be raised with the GDC that indicates patients or others have been put at risk, we are duty bound to investigate. Evidence that the treatment given followed an appropriate and well-informed risk assessment will be extremely important in determining the outcome.