Fitness to Practise

Fitness to Practise

When you enter dental school you are taking the first step to becoming a dentist. Dentists hold a trusted position in society and come in contact with a wide range of people in the course of their jobs, some of whom may be vulnerable. Therefore your dental school will expect you to display different standards of behaviour from those expected of students on courses that do not lead to professional regulation. Your behaviour at all times, both in the clinical environment and in your personal life, must justify the trust that the public places in you as a future member of the dental profession.

If your behaviour falls outside the standards expected of you as a dental student your school has an obligation to take action to protect patients and public trust in the profession. They do this through a process which is often called fitness to practise. This is the formal process whereby the dental school investigates lapses in professionalism and applies an appropriate sanction. Depending upon the seriousness  of a lapse, sanctions can include; conditions being applied to your continued study on the course, a temporary suspension from the course or exclusion from the dental school.

By awarding a dental degree, the university is stating that the graduate is fit to practise as a dentist. The University, therefore, has a duty to ensure that dental graduates meet the high standards laid down by the General Dental Council (GDC) in its guidance to the dental profession. The University also has a duty to ensure that no member of the public is harmed as a result of taking part in the teaching of dental students. If your conduct were to fall below the standard that is expected of you by the public and GDC, the University would have the right to terminate your course.


If you have a disability which you feel might impact on your ability to meet the high demands of a dental course, you are urged to consult the School as soon as possible in the application process so that we can discuss the implications with you, including any adjustments that can be made to meet your needs.

Further information on the University’s provision for disabled students is available via this link.

Criminal Convictions

All applicants to Dentistry must declare criminal offences on the UCAS form. Any declaration will be further explored and further details will be required.

All entrants to dental schools in the UK must undergo a PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) check. Applicants who accept an offer of admission to Dentistry in Aberdeen will be contacted prior to the start of term and guided through the process of application through Disclosure Scotland for this criminal record check. Non-UK domiciled entrants will be required to supply the university with equivalent certification from their home government. This documentation must be received as soon as possible to allow consideration of the individual circumstances by the University prior to the commencement of studies. 

Not all convictions will result in being barred from the profession. Should potential applicants have uncertainty about a declaration, the Admissions Office will be able to offer advice about a future application for Dentistry to Aberdeen

Applicants with serious criminal convictions may be refused entry on grounds of fitness to practise. Failure to declare information, which directly relates to your Fitness to Practise will result in the termination of your dental school course.

Occupational Health

Occupational Health wish to know about any disabilities or health conditions that may affect students in their training so that, where appropriate, advice can be given to the School of any support needs students may have and how these can be provided for. Information is also required about conditions which could pose risk to patients so that these can be assessed. Consideration can then be given to how any risk can be avoided, whilst assistance is provided to help students successfully complete the course. This can be achieved with most health problems and disabilities, even if substantial.

As a potential future dentist, you have a duty to provide relevant information to the School’s Medical Advisers, NHS Grampian Occupational Health Service. Failure to disclose information about a physical or mental health problem that could affect patient safety would be a breach of this duty and could result in disciplinary action. All medical and sensitive personal information you provide will be held in confidence by NHS Grampian Occupational Health Service.

The school will only be informed of the effects of a health problem or disability, if relevant to your educational needs or patient safety, and of recommendations on support or adjustments that could be of assistance to you.

Thus applicants who have been made an offer will be issued with a Health Questionnaire that should be returned to NHS Grampian Occupational Health. Only the questionnaires of applicants who ultimately take up a place at Dental School (ie of confirmed entrants) will be reviewed by Occupational Health. 

Health Policy

The University is mindful of its overriding duty of care for the public with whom dental students are in close contact.  We therefore follow national guidelines on blood borne virus infections and tuberculosis in undergraduate dental students, which are very similar to those that apply to healthcare workers.

 For more details please see the attached documents

Medical and dental students: Health clearance for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis

HEOPS Medical Students – Standards of medical fitness to train

NHS Grampian TB Screening Process

All new students must undergo standard health clearance which requires evidence of immunisation against (or immunity to) diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.

In addition the Occupational Health Service will arrange for blood samples to be taken to test for Varicella (chickenpox), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV antibodies or antigens and Tuberculosis screening as appropriate.

For your own protection and that of your future patients, you are advised to commence a schedule of Hepatitis B immunisation. Where indicated additional immunisations may also be offered including MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), Varicella and BCG (Tuberculosis).

In the rare circumstance that a student is shown to carry the Hepatitis B or C virus or HIV, he or she will be referred to the Occupational Health Service for confidential advice, counselling and treatment if indicated. This does not mean that he or she cannot train to be a doctor but there may be restrictions on the student’s clinical training and on his or her medical practice following qualification. In particular there are likely to be restrictions on his or her ability to perform what are termed exposure prone procedures (EPP). EPP refers to procedures where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in exposure of the patient's open tissues to the blood of the worker. Surgery is an example of an exposure prone procedure.