Code of Conduct

Our Code of Conduct


The Scottish Dental Association (SDA) seeks to represent all dentists practicing within Scotland. We recognise and embrace the diversity of our roles be it within NHS and Private General Practice or Salaried Hospital and Community positions. We are one unified Scottish voice.


 Responsibility for National Health Service and Private Dentistry in Scotland is a devolved matter and therefore rests with the Scottish Government. The Scottish Dental Association provides the platform for our members to assist and challenge decisions made by the government bodies. As a unified voice we ask for evidence- based treatment rationale, we aim for ‘gold standard’ patient care and we demand respectful non-threating communication and appropriate funding to provide a dental service that Scotland can be proud of.


The Scottish Dental Association members are expected to pursue the highest standards of professionalism in terms of conduct in our working lives, with each other and how we communicate with all groups involved in Dentistry.

SDA members always conduct our services honestly and honourably. We expect our clients and suppliers to do the same. Our advice, techniques and practices reflect best practice as recognised by the profession at that point in time. Our work relies on continuous training and consideration of ethical issues surrounding correct provision of appropriate treatment options. We encourage our colleagues to collaborate, and we are open and honest regarding difficulties, conflicts and complications, with a view to a permissive and open platform for learning. Our ethical stance seeks to protect our patients foremost, but also our colleagues, business associates, and suppliers.

As registrants of the General Dental Council, SDA members are expected to adhere the ‘Standards for the Dental Team’. In addition to these nine standards, we also expect our members to be strong examples of professionalism in areas specific to the Dental Profession.


SDA members are committed to maintaining the highest degree of integrity in all our dealings with potential, current and past patients, both in terms of normal confidentiality, and the protection of all personal information received in the course of providing the Dental services concerned. We extend the same standards to all our colleagues, business associates and suppliers. It is important to apply these standards of confidentiality and discretion in our dealings, not only with patients, but also with professional colleagues and the general public.

Duty of Care

Our actions and advice will always conform to relevant law, and SDA members believe that all businesses and organizations, including this consultancy, should avoid causing any adverse effect on the human rights of people in the organizations we deal with, the local and wider environments, and the well-being of society at large.

Quality assurance

SDA members maintain the quality of what we do through constant ongoing peer review and assessment of our outcomes. We are relentless in looking for new ways to honestly assess and meaningfully critique the quality of our work. We encourage collaboration, and review our aims, activities, outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of treatments. This not only extends to our Dental techniques, but also to our other skills, such as communication, team working and business skills as required in our varied roles.

Equality and discrimination

We always strive to be fair and objective in our advice and actions, and we are never influenced in our decisions, actions or recommendations by issues of gender, race, creed, colour, age or personal disability.

Compliance and Enforcement

Members should take measures to ensure compliance with the principles of this Code. Failure to apply this code may lead to compulsory expulsion.

Committee members and Directors

Furthermore, SDA committee members and directors must adhere to The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) as follows. We will act with;-

1 Selflessness

Act solely in the terms of the Association’s and hence the dental profession’s interest

2 Integrity

Avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try to inappropriately influence their work. No actions should be taken in order to make a personal financial gain or for that of your family, or friends. Always declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

3 Objectivity

Decisions made use the best evidence and are made without discrimination or bias.

4 Accountability

Decisions and actions are accountable and are therefore open and subject to scrutiny.

5 Openness

Decisions made are open and transparent, information should not be with-held unless there are clear and lawful reasons for doing so.

6 Honesty

Be truthful, at all times.

7 Leadership

Actively promote and robustly support SDA principles. Be willing to challenge decisions made by the Scottish Government or any other body that results in a detrimental effect to the profession of dentistry and its ability to provide the highest standard of care to dental patients in Scotland.