Practice support

14 March, 2013 / Infocus

The demands of running a Scottish dental practice in 2013 are many and complex. To help with this, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has produced a Practice Support Manual (PSM).

This manual supports practice management and organisation in primary dental care in Scotland by providing up-to-date advice on a range of topics that are essential for running a dental practice. This information is provided via the PSM website,

Initially launched in 2010, the PSM brings together information that is relevant to dental practice from current legislation, professional regulations, guidelines and the opinion of experts and experienced practitioners, and presents it in a practical manner to:

  • assist the smooth running of a ıdental practice;
    • encourage the involvement of the whole team in practice management and organisation;
      • facilitate staff induction and training;
        • facilitate practice development planning;
          • promote best practice;
            • help compliance with current ılegislation and professional regulations;
              • support the preparation for, and successful completion of, a practice inspection;
                • help practices meet the National ıStandards for Dental Services;
                  • enhance patient care and safety.

The PSM is also:

  • an excellent learning tool for the Vocational Trainee Test of Knowledge;
    • handy reference tool for all dental practice managers – particularly those participating in the NES General Practice Managers VT Scheme.

What’s in the PSM?

The PSM provides advice on a range of non-clinical topics. Brief background information and actions for the dental team are included for each topic, together with optional supporting tools to aid implementation, such as template forms, information sheets and policies.

The PSM also provides checklists that practices might find helpful as a summary of what is advised for each topic. The checklists are also a means of allocating responsibilities among the dental team, which should help to improve the efficiency of running a dental practice.

The topics currently included in the PSM are: Ethical Practice; Record–keeping; Communication; Risk Management; Health and Safety – General; Health and Safety –Infection Control; Radiation Protection; Disability Equality; Medical Emergencies and Life Support; Audit and Significant Event Analysis.

The PSM does not address financial management and employment legislation, and practitioners and practice managers should seek alternative professional help in dealing with these complex issues.

Who is the PSM for and what does it cost?

Although the PSM is written primarily for principal dentists and practice managers who are responsible for managing a dental practice, the smooth running of a dental practice involves, and depends on, the whole team. Therefore, the content is of relevance to all members of the dental team, and all team members are encouraged to use it. The PSM is freely available to dental professionals in Scotland.

Why use the PSM?

One of the aims of the PSM is to support dental teams to prepare successfully for practice inspection. This is especially relevant as a new form of practice inspection is currently being introduced. All practice team members who contribute to the inspection process will find the PSM a helpful resource for checking the latest legislation and regulations and for bringing the practice’s documentation up to date.

An example – Radiation Protection

Although dental radiography delivers a very small radiation dose, risk does exist and dentists have a duty of care and a legal obligation to protect the public, their staff and their patients from potential harm associated with exposure to radiation.

This section of the PSM provides brief guidance to facilitate the safe use of ionising radiation by dental practitioners in accordance with legal requirements with relevant information, useful checklists and templates to enable legislation compliance.

Who created the PSM?

Several dental practitioners with many years’ experience of owning and running primary care practices have contributed to the advice within the PSM.

They have generally also multi–tasked with other roles in education, working with NES, as DPAs or in the Dental Practice Board.

Input has also been provided by several topic-specific expert bodies and specialists. Configuring the PSM as a website has been led by members of the SDCEP team including Doug Stirling, Sam Rutherford and Trish Graham.

While the PSM aims to give up-to-date advice on practice matters, there are always changes to guidelines, legislation and professional regulations. Practitioners and their teams should be aware of this and their responsibility as healthcare professionals to ensure their decisions are appropriate to their individual dental practices and the care of their patients.

The PSM website

You can find the PSM at Access to the full content requires an account. If you don’t have one, click the ’New users register here’ button on the home page and follow the instructions.

First–time users might find it helpful to view the video introduction that is mentioned on the home page. It includesa description of how to create a personal account or an account for your whole dental team.

Tags: Business

Categories: Archive

Comments are closed here.

Scottish Dental magazine