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Background and Scope

PSM folder imageRunning a primary care dental practice is a challenging task and requires keeping up to date with relevant legislation and professional regulations, together with coordinating several diverse activities. Information that is relevant to dentistry is not always easily accessible or clear in current legislation and guidelines. Therefore, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) convened a Guidance Development Group to produce a tool that brings together relevant information to support the organisation and management of primary care dental practices.

Much of the advice included in the ‘Practice Support Manual‘ (PSM) is a legal or professional requirement. Other advice is based on the opinion of experienced practitioners and is considered best practice.

Further details about the development of this guidance are available in Guidance Development Methodology.

Practical Advice

The PSM provides advice on a range of non-clinical topics relevant to running a primary care dental practice. The advice is divided into broad topics that are each divided into sub-topics to facilitate ‘dipping into’. Within the advice for each main topic, brief background information is provided, including details of relevant legislation and professional regulations. Actions that will help dental teams comply with legislation and professional regulations, prepare successfully for practice inspectionand carry out best practice are also provided.

Actions are formatted in this way, and are considered best practice by the group that developed the guidance.

Links to sources of information and supporting tools to facilitate implementation of the advice are provided.

Supporting Tools

To facilitate implementation of the advice contained in this manual in your practice, supporting tools are provided. Note that these tools are optional but have been developed to aid practice management and help practices meet legislative and inspection requirements.


Checklists are provided for each topic. Using a checklist for each topic within the PSM provides a convenient method of keeping track of tasks to be completed, allocating responsibilities within the dental team, and recording where relevant information is kept. In the checklists provided, items for NHS Health Board practice inspection are highlighted on a shaded background to facilitate preparation for a practice inspection. A worked example checklist and a ‘blank’ checklist for you to adapt and use in your own practice are provided. Instructions on how to use checklistsare provided.

Template Forms and Policies

Several information sheets, forms and policies are required to facilitate the smooth running of a primary care dental practice and meet legislative and inspection requirements. Therefore, template sheets, forms and policies that can be used ‘as is’ or adapted for use in your own practice are provided. It is important, particularly for example policies, that these are adapted for the specific requirements of your practice. Instructions on how to use templatesare provided.

Sources of Information

References on which the advice presented in the PSM is based are provided. In addition, the details of references, organisations and websites where additional information can be obtained are provided. The web addresses for the links provided are correct as of April 2015. In order for us to keep these up to date, please let us knowif you find that any links no longer work.