Dental Protection was delighted to attend the FDI World Dental Congress to Hong Kong. And very enjoyable it proved to be, while also an exceptionally busy time for the Dental Protection/MPS team. It came at the end of three packed weeks of conferences, meetings and lectures in Australia and New Zealand, with some of the team travelling for more than a month altogether.
A lot can happen in the space of a month and although information technology can keep us connected to different parts of our life, to different people in our life and to events on the other side of the world, in real time, 24/7, there is really no substitute for face-to-face communication. Over the course of that month the dental team was able to speak with many hundreds of MPS/DPL members from all over the world, gave lectures to thousands of dentists and other members of the dental team in almost 20 towns and cities, and met with countless lawyers and barristers that we work with on a regular basis, year after year.
Dentistry - especially in general practice - is unusual within healthcare in that we spend so much of our time with healthy people who have no presenting problems. When problems do arise we try to fix them and in doing so, we are often capitalising upon any previous relationship we have established with the patient or family concerned.
This is exactly what we do when things go wrong, too. Building strong, caring relationships with our patients not only makes good business sense - it also helps to keep us safe. Those of you, who have already attended our small group workshops Mastering Your Risk and Mastering Adverse Outcomes, will understand the underlying logic and compelling evidence for this. While in Hong Kong Dental Protection delivered the special ‘launch’ presentation of the third workshop in this series, Mastering Difficult Interactions All three workshops (three hours each) are now available free of charge in Hong Kong to Dental Protection/MPS members, in collaboration with HKDA. Click here for full details of available dates and venues.
On the subject of relationships, Dental Protection would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to our longstanding relationship with the Hong Kong Dental Association. We work with many dental associations around the world and there are few who take such an active interest in indemnity matters, education and the welfare of members. We have been through some testing times together over the years, through SARS and the avian flu pandemic, through economic downturns - and upturns - and through huge challenges in terms of sudden increases in litigation and/or regulatory (Dental Council) activity. But for all those dentists who are members of both organisations, in particular, it is important that the two organisations continue to work collaboratively in the best interests of our mutual members.
The fact that both organisations are owned by and operated for the members, and do not exist for the purpose of making profits from them, is a powerful bond that serves us both well. A striking example of this collaboration and dialogue was the decision taken 4-5 years ago to change our subscription categories in response to a worrying steady increase in the number of claims we were seeing from three areas in particular,
- implant dentistry
- oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery
- orthodontics carried out by clinicians who had not completed any formal higher or specialist training in the field.
HKDA understood the need for this, and helped to communicate the need for this change. Since then, we have kept HKDA informed of the trends we were seeing and during that five-year period we have adjusted the relative rates for the special categories we established, two or three times as we accumulated more and more historic experience of the relative risk of these groups of members. Last year HKDA voiced its views that the balance was perhaps not right and we have acknowledged those views and taken them into account when taking the final decisions about the subscription levels for 2013.
Apart from the oral and maxillofacial surgeons - whose claims experience has unfortunately been worsening in comparison to the general practitioners - the net effect of the subscription changes that we are now making, is that most members will have had below-inflation subscription increases over the period 2010-2014 and some members will still be paying less than they were at the start of that period. Even with this year’s increase, the oral and maxillofacial surgeons are still paying the rate that would apply in an equivalent medical surgical specialty of similar risk, but they will be facing the highest increases as a result of this year’s unavoidable adjustments. What we will always do is set our subscriptions fairly and responsibly, collecting neither more nor less than we need to do, for the long-term protection of our members for all the treatment that they carry out in the year ahead.
The dental team nmust continue to take education and risk management seriously, and not become too complacent because if the number of cases reported to us in the first three quarters of 2012, is reflected through to the end of the year, the total number looks set to end the year higher than in 2011, only exceeded by the exceptional 2005 year. Our actual case-related expenditure in the year to date has already been higher than in any previous full year, so 2012 will certainly represent an unwelcome new ‘high’ in that respect.
Click here to see the latest membership rates.