Defibrillators & Dentists: FAQs
Should Dentists have Defibrillators?
Yes. The Standards and Guidance of the General Dental Council state that, “… all clinical areas should have immediate access to an automated external defibrillator for dental practices.”
What does this mean in practice?
The GDC says specifically that premises in which patients are seen clinically should have a defib machine. This is not only where the Dentist sees patients but also where patients are seen only by a dental hygienist, therapist or technician.
Who looks after the Defibrillator?
On the face of it, simply having an AED fulfils these GDC obligations but in fact the defibrillator must be in good and working condition to discharge the duty of care to patients. The GDC is clear that in the case of medical emergencies, Dentists must not only be trained in medical emergencies, including resuscitation, but they must possess up to date evidence of capability: preventative maintenance of the defibrillator is an essential element of capability.
Do Dentists currently know of these Requirements?
The Resuscitation Council (UK) adopts the new 2015 European guidelines on requirements for Dentists. There is a specific section in these relating to AEDs at Dentists, which comments that: “the early use of de-fibrillation should be emphasised to increase the availability of AED’s in dental surgeries, which is still unsatisfactory.”
What about public use of a Dentist’s Defibrillator?
There is no specific guidance on public availability but a Dentist can choose to have the location and opening times for the practice put onto the ambulance service CAD register, in case it is the nearest available AED to a public cardiac arrest. Whenever a DefibMachine is used, it is swapped for a replacement machine for future use.
Read our helpful guide on how much does a defibrillator cost.