7 December 2010

Q. I am a practice owner who is taking time off from the practice to undergo an episode of elective surgery which will stop me working for the partnership for several months. I have arranged a locum to treat patients in my absence but I wanted to ask: am I responsible for the treatment provided by the locum, and will my inability to work affect the cost of my dental membership?

You are not responsible for the standard of work undertaken by your locum. Every dentist is responsible for their own acts and omissions and they should be indemnified accordingly. You should therefore take a moment to ensure that your locum is suitably indemnified.

Your indemnity as a dental member does not cover any claim in negligence which might be made against your locum. Your locum must have their own indemnity which should cover them for all acts and omissions whilst working at your practice. Some dentists decide for whatever reason not to become members of a defence organisation but take out an individual insurance policy. If this is the case with your locum, it is important to ensure that suitable arrangements for ‘run-off cover’ will be in place if and when he or she stops paying their insurance premium.

As a practice owner you will be required to maintain full indemnity throughout your current DPL subscription. This will provide you with protection in your role as a partner in a practice should any claims be made against the practice even when you are not working on the premises. You may also wish to maintain the indemnity provided for any dental nurses that are included within your own membership.

One of the reasons that practice owners subscribe to DPL Xtra is to provide indemnity for the dental nurses both for clinical negligence and to represent their interests at a General Dental Council hearing. Click here to discover more about DPL Xtra, the practice programme that rewards a commitment to good practice and a team approach to risk management with lower subscriptions.

Dental Protection Limited is registered in England (No. 2374160) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Medical Protection Society Limited (MPS) which is registered in England (No.36142). Both companies use Dental Protection as a trading name and have their registered office at 33 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PS.

Dental Protection Limited serves and supports the dental members of MPS with access to the full range of benefits of membership, which are all discretionary, and set out in MPS’s Memorandum and Articles of Association. MPS is not an insurance company. Dental Protection® is a registered trademark of MPS.

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