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;
a) I am responsible for the treatment provided by the locum?
b) Will my inability to work affect the cost of my Dental Protection 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 preferably by one of the three defence organisations in the UK.
Your indemnity with DPL does not cover any claim in negligence which might be made against your locum. Your locum must have his own indemnity which should cover him for all acts and omissions whilst he is 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 stops paying his insurance premium, if say he retires from practice.
Because you are 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 (say due to a breach of health and safety or infection control) 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 DPL membership. Dental nurses need to have indemnity in place if they are to continue working in a clinical setting. 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 GDC 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.