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GDC issues new guidance on advertising by dental professionals

07 February 2012

The general Dental Council (GDC) have issued new guidance aimed at ensuring that advertising by dental professionals is clear and never misleads the public.

The guidance, which covers all forms of promotion of services by dental professionals – both in print and on the internet – guides dental professionals on appropriate use of specialist titles. Specifically, dental care professionals (DCPs) must not imply they have specialist status by giving themselves a title with ‘specialist’ in it since only those dentists who are on one of the 13 specialist lists held by the GDC may describe themselves as being a specialist, e.g. orthodontists.

Under the guidance, dental professionals will be required to feature their GDC registration number in advertising their services. Websites must contain details of a dental practice’s complaints procedure and information of who patients may contact if they are not satisfied with the response, e.g. the relevant NHS body for NHS treatment and the Dental Complaints Service for private treatment.

The guidance also makes clear that every dental professional has a responsibility to ensure that any promotional information containing their name, in print or online, is current and accurate.

Chair of the GDC, Kevin O’Brien said:

“The duty of all dental professionals is to put their patients’ interests first. Related to advertising, this means never making claims which could mislead patients. This new guidance will help to ensure that patients’ basic right to clear, accurate information is protected and that dental professionals have helpful guidance to assist them with ethical advertising.”

The new guidance will take effect from 1 March 2012. Full details can be found on the GDC’s website at www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Pages/Ethical-advertising.aspx