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WMS Health, Welfare and Professionalism Group (Dentistry)

The General Dental Council (GDC) sets out the principles of professional behaviour expected of students during their training to become a registered dental professional in Student professionalism and fitness to practise - Guidance for students.

The GDC document ‘Student Professionalism and Fitness to Practise - Guidance for training providers’ provides guidance covering the professional behaviour expected of student dental professionals during training, the key elements of student fitness to practise procedures, when and how to make decisions about a student’s fitness to practise, and how these can affect registration with the GDC. This guidance applies to all providers delivering programmes leading to registration with the GDC. Notably, students on the WMS Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy (OT) course are practising dental professionals, registered with the GDC and subject to its regulation.

WMS Health, Welfare and Professionalism Group (Dentistry)

The role of the WMS Health, Welfare and Professionalism (HWP) Group role is to identify and review in the first instance (and continue to review as required) all students’ self-referred or referred HWP issues with the aim of providing support and reasonable adjustments to help prevent any issues becoming more serious and a greater cause for difficulty. The Group also considers whether the threshold of student fitness to practise may have been reached and should this be the case, the matter will be referred to the WMS FtP Committee. The Group normally meets on the third Tuesday of every month but ad hoc meetings can be held if required. The Group membership is:

  • Dr Debbi Marais, Director of PGT
  • Neil Stockton, Head of Governance and Quality (Chair)
  • Dr Richard Cure, Head of Dentistry Studies
  • Andrew Taylor, Senior Tutor
  • Despina Weber or Kathryn Fisher, Head of Disability Services (job share), Wellbeing Support Services
  • Chair of the Course Progress Group or nominated deputy
  • Sarah Knight, Dean’s Office (Note taker)

The University’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy is adhered to throughout and students can expect to be treated fairly and with great consideration.


If you have an HWP issue, it is strongly recommended that you self-refer using the HWP Self-referral form (dentistry) so that support can be identified and provided. Please do not wait to see if an issue resolves itself or try to resolve it on your own. When you have decided to self-refer, you must consider the nature of your referral and it is recommended that you discuss this with either the Senior Tutor or member of the dentistry staff. If your issue is low-level then you should refer to the HWP Group but if you consider that the threshold of student fitness to practise may have been reached, then you should self-refer to the WMS FtP Committee.

If relevant, please include any additional documents with your self-referral, for example, a doctor’s note or reflection. If you are not able to provide these at the time of submission, please do so as soon as possible afterwards. Your self-referral will normally be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting of the Group and you will receive a written outcome, usually within ten working days. Please note that you may be asked for clarification or further information.

Both the HWP Group and the WMS FtP Committee consider self-referral as demonstrating insight and understanding of your professional responsibilities.

WMS FtP Committee

An HWP issue is not an FtP concern unless and until the matter has been referred to the WMS FtP Committee and they determine that the threshold of student FtP has been reached.

This Committee and is governed by Regulation 34 Determination of Fitness to Practise and normally meets four times a year with ad hoc meetings if required. The meeting dates for 2019/20 are:

  • 3 December 2019
  • 10 March 2020
  • 9 June 2020
  • 8 September 2020

How does it all work?

The Operational Procedures describe how the HWP Group and the WMS FtP Committee work.

Whom can I talk to?

If you have any questions or need advice please contact any of the following: