Taking a break

Health Education England working across the east of England is often called on to assist dentists who are planning or have had a break from clinical practice. If you are in either of these categories it will still be important for you to keep up to date with all the changes that will take place while you are away from practice. This will be relevant for whichever sector of dentistry you work in be it primary or secondary care, NHS or private.

Clinical techniques and materials, best practice, standards, and many regulations change rapidly. So it is vital that you keep yourself well informed and up to date.

The GDC have requirements in terms of the amount of time spent on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that you must complete annually in order to be able to maintain your registration with them. These requirements should be considered as the minimum that you should do. Included in the requirements are certain core courses identified by the GDC; they cover three essential subjects that you should address as part of the 50 hour minimum amount in each year of your 5 year CPD cycle. These are:

  1. Medical emergencies including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (at least 10 hours in every 5 year CPD cycle and should be carried out annually)
  2. Infection control including disinfection and decontamination (at least 5 hours in every 5 year CPD cycle)
  3. Radiography and radiation protection (at least 5 hours in every 5 year cycle).

The GDC also recommends that dentists should keep up to date by doing either verifiable or non-verifiable CPD in dental law & ethics, complaints handling and early detection of oral cancers.

The 50 hour annual requirement of the GDC should be made up of at least 15 hours of verifiable and 35 hours of non-verifiable CPD and you should keep written records and certificates of each activity.

HEE EoE runs courses throughout the east of England. Courses are now booked on-line via registration using the Intrepid system and you will also find out how to register on our website. See Dental Courses and CPD here. Most of our postgraduate centres now have clinical skills units attached for practical work. It is likely that you will be charged by the centres if you wish to enrol on an organised Section 63 course if you do not have an NHS Performers number.

Some of the London teaching hospitals can offer hands-on refresher or specialised courses. The LonDEC centre provides a 3 day retraining course in restorative dentistry; they can also tailor a refreshment course to an individual’s needs. Their website is: www.londec.co.uk

The difficulties you will experience when you are planning your return to practice should not be underestimated. So keeping yourself up to date will help to minimise them.

Some of the things you should consider while you are on your break are:

  • Keeping up your GDC registration 
  • Retaining your membership of your defence organisation 
  • Maintaining your membership of the British Dental Association (or joining if you are not already a member) 
  • Participating in CPD to a level well above that required by the GDC as a minimum to retain your registration 
  • Keeping in touch with HEE EoE and attending courses (HEE EoE courses and elsewhere); this not only provides you with CPD hours but also enables you to meet, mix and exchange ideas with other dentists.