When a clinician is employed as a dentist or a dental care professional within the NHS salaried services, it is a common assumption that the NHS employer will automatically assist in the event of a negligence claim against the individual clinician.
In most cases this is true and the case will often be referred to the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA). It has to be remembered however that although the solicitors working for the NHSLA will be well meaning to the individual clinicians involved, they are primarily there to act for the Trust, and will conduct the case in the interests of the employer, rather than the specific individual.
Gone are the days when members working in the salaried services were relatively immune from dento-legal threats. In many ways clinicians are now more exposed than ever in the glare of performance measurement and clinical governance.
Dental registrants working in the salaried services should be aware that NHS/Crown Indemnity offers no assistance whatsoever in relation to GDC hearings and matters of professional conduct and should consider protecting their own professional interests by becoming a Dental Protection member in their own right.
Dental Protection has assisted members who have received complaints about their standard of lecturing or content of their lectures as well as allegations being made about the veracity of a research project. These can be very worrying allegations for any clinician and can result in disciplinary proceedings being instigated by the Trust/Health Board or by the GDC.
If you are working in the salaried services you can have peace of mind of knowing that, should there be a challenge to your professional integrity, Dental Protection’s experienced dento-legal advisers will be there to help.