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Peer review group

Group of dentists consulting files

Dental peer group toolkit overview


Peer groups provide an opportunity for groups of dentists and dental care professionals to review aspects of practice.

Peer review activities are considered part of all dental professionals' compulsory continuing professional development (CPD). All registered dental professionals are required to complete CPD in order to maintain their registration. The General Dental Council (GDC) requires all registrants to keep a written record of CPD activity, and to produce this record if requested. Use of this peer review framework will provide verifiable CPD that meets the requirements of the GDC CPD scheme for those who fully engage and participate.

The aim of peer review is to share experiences and identify areas in which changes can be made with the objective of improving the quality of service offered to patients. It is for dental professionals to take the initiative in contacting their peers in other practices to form a peer review group. One dental professional should act as the Organiser for the group.

The expected outcome of peer review group meetings is a sustainable improvement in dental service and care for patients.

In 2018 the GDC commissioned a review of the literature on CPD.

The report identified multiple references to the benefits of peer review learning. The key points are summarised here;

  • Peer learning takes a number of forms including peer review, peer support, peer feedback, peer observation, peer audit, peer discussion groups, peer interaction, peer mentoring and coaching and use of peer facilitators
  • Peer learning facilitates sharing of best practice and promotes high standards of practice which can be especially valuable for lone practitioners. Working together and interacting was reported beneficial and more likely to lead to positive changes in practice
  • In addition, it supports reflective practice and identification of learning needs and its value in terms of pastoral support is also recognised
  • Peer learning can support interaction across professionals at all levels of expertise. Peer review groups can enhance inter-professional and inter-practice communication, learning and engagement. They also strengthen relationships and promote mutual understanding.

Benefits of peer groups:

  • a method of sharing knowledge between colleagues
  • a stimulus for individual learning
  • a tool to change and improve practice performance
  • a vehicle to support underperforming dental professionals
  • a method of supporting daily practice activities
  • a method for agreeing clinical standards for a clinical audit
  • a vehicle to improve communications and build relationships between local practices.

To make the most of peer learning, each member should make the following commitments to the peer group:

  • be willing to be part of a peer group
  • be willing to attend all meetings or as many as possible
  • be willing to review aspects of their own practice and share this information
  • be open to implementing changes within their own practice to improve the quality of service offered to patients.

Suggested templates:

  1. Attendance register
  2. Agenda
  3. Meeting summary sheet
  4. Delegate evaluation sheet
  5. Reflective learning log

The Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) dental quality improvement (QI) officer will send you templates for all of the above.

If you have any questions setting up your peer review group please contact your local QI tutor or for general enquiries please contact


NES Peer Review Background, Principles and Steps