UK: Dental brief - November 2012

Last Updated: 12 November 2012
Article by Jenin Khanam

Prize Draw Winner

Congratulations go to Mandeep Gosal who wins the Hotel Chocolat prize draw from our competition at the Dental Showcase. Thanks again to all those who entered.

CRB Check and dental care professionals

From September this year, the law relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults has changed. Dentists were already required to have a CRB certificate in order to carry out regulated activities under the CQC. Now, all dental care professionals must have an enhanced CRB certificate because the provision of health care by any health care professional is classified as a regulated activity. Receptionists and other staff who are not registered with the GDC or another health care regulator do not normally require a CRB check, but nurses and hygienists do.

Beware restrictive covenants

The High Court has held that it was not appropriate to grant an injunction restrainng a practitioner from setting up a competing business following her resignation from her previous practice in breach of restrictive covenants. The opposing parties had been partners. Their partnership deed contained a restrictive covenant that said a retiring partner could not practice within a 10-miles radius for a period of 3 years. The partnership then became a limited company and the partners were directors. Draft employment contracts were drawn up which included a similar restrictive covenant but for a period of 12 months. The contracts were never formally executed. The remaining former partner applied for an injunction to prevent the retiring partner from setting up a competitive business, relying on the restrictive covenants in the partnership deed.

The Court held that the covenants remained enforceable. However, it would be inappropriate to grant the injunction as it would in effect prevent the retiring partner from realistically working at all.

Dentists should therefore ensure that they take specific legal advice on the terms of any restrictive covenants including the consequences and must ensure that all deeds are correctly executed especially if the nature of the practice is changing from a partnership to a company or vice versa to avoid any uncertainty in event of a dispute or enforcement proceedings.

Fitness to Practise

The GDC have confirmed that as well as making changes to its fitness to practise procedures, the annual retention fee will remain unchanged in 2013. Public consultation will take place this autumn in respect of direct access and a new standards and ethics guidance will be published. The GDC will also start to work the possibility of introducing a pre-registration year.

Future Regulation of Cosmetic Surgery

David Reissner, Head of our Healthcare practice has written an article on the Keogh review and the future regulation of cosmetic surgery for Cosmetic News. If you missed the article, email for a free copy.

Tooth Whitening

From 31 October 2012 tooth whitening supplied by a dentist to a patient over 18 with a hydrogen peroxide level of 6% (18% carbamide peroxide) will be legal. This change follows an amendment to the EU directive concerning cosmetic products.

The regulations say that products containing or releasing up to 6% hydrogen peroxide can be used subject to the following conditions:-

* to be only sold to dental practitioners

* for each cycle of use, first use by a dental practitioner; or

* under their direct supervision, if an equivalent level of safety is ensured.

* afterwards to be provided to the consumer to complete the cycle of use.

* not to be used on any person under the age of 18.

Remote prescribing of injectables is banned

The Government has backed a self-regulatory framework proposed by the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service, stating that only doctors, dentists and medical nurses may perform injectable cosmetic treatments. It is now mandatory to have a face to face consultation with a patient prior to prescribing botulinum toxin by telephone, email or video link.

Dental pilots to be extended

Around 25 further dental practices are to be added to the existing 70 programmes. The extra sites will help fine-tune different parts of the new contract which will see dentists paid for the number of patient results they produce rather than the number of courses of treatment they perform. Some of the pilot sites are also trialling a new traffic light system of self care which gives patients a rating of green, amber or red following an oral health assessment, and providing them advice on how to improve their dental health in the long term. The new pilots are to start in April 2013 and all applications must be completed online by no later than 4pm on Thursday 8 November. Please see the link below for the application form:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Jenin Khanam
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