Frequently asked questions

 Do you have a question for one of our dento-legal advisers? View some frequently asked questions from young dentists below, or visit our Ask DPL page.

Dental Protection is the world's largest indemnity organisation. Our strong advisory team consists of 58 dento-legal advisers, offering a wealth of expertise and knowledge that cannot be matched anywhere else. Our dento-legal advisers understand the issues faced by young dentists as many of them have been VT advisers, trainers and VDPs themselves.

Remember the Dental Protection team is always here to help, if you have a question or if would like some advice please email yd@dentalprotection.org or telephone our membership team on 0845 608 400 from the UK or +44 (0)207 399 1400 from outside of the UK.

We're here for you every step of your career!

Puzzled about your renewal?

During your VT year you need to make an active decision about which indemnity organisation your renew your membership with. We know it can be confusing, but it's worth doing your homework as it's a big decision, and there are many key differences.
Click here for further information.

 

Question time

Q1. I have been a member of Dental Protection ever since I was a student and I have just started work as an associate in a new practice that is owned by a dentist who belongs to a different defence organisation. He has told me that I need to join his defence organisation because my dental nurse will not have indemnity on those occasions when I am supervising her. Is that true? Answer

Q2. I work as an associate in two different practices; two days in one and three days in another. Very often the two different practice owners have to employ an agency nurse to assist me in the surgery. I have been a member of Dental Protection for five years and am concerned about the vicarious liability I might have if the agency nurse doesn't have the right sort of indemnity. Do I need to check this or should I rely on the practice-owners to do this? Neither of them have indemnity with Dental Protection as far as I am aware. Answer

Q3. Whilst I am studying for another dental qualification I am working as a locum in a large group practice, two days a week. I am a member of Dental Protection but the dental nurse who regularly works with me on those days, also works as a float nurse for various other dentists in the practice on the other days.  The practice owner (who also employs the dental nurse) doesn't actually do any clinical practice herself and she has told the nurse that she can be covered for professional indemnity purposes through my membership of Dental Protection.  Is that actually correct? Answer

Q1. I have been a member of Dental Protection ever since I was a student and I have just started work as an associate in a new practice that is owned by a dentist who belongs to a different defence organisation. He has told me that I need to join his defence organisation because my dental nurse will not have indemnity on those occasions when I am supervising her. Is that true?

A1. No, it certainly isn't true.  A member of Dental Protection who is working in general or specialist dental practice could be held to be vicariously liable for the negligent acts and omissions of a dental nurse working under their direction and supervision, even if they are not the actual employer of the dental nurse.

 

Reflecting this, your membership already covers your potential vicarious liability for any dental nurse who is working under your direction and supervision.  What makes Dental Protection's approach different from that of other indemnifiers, however, is that we offer several additional categories of membership in which an employer / practice owner is able to indemnify up to five dental nurses or dental technicians employed by them, in respect of negligence claims, whether or not they are working with them or directing  / supervising them at the time of an adverse incident.

 

We believe that this flexible approach is fairer to practice owners, associates and dental nurses alike.  Top

Q2. I work as an associate in two different practices; two days in one and three days in another. Very often the two different practice owners have to employ an agency nurse to assist me in the surgery. I have been a member of Dental Protection for five years and am concerned about the vicarious liability I might have if the agency nurse doesn't have the right sort of indemnity. Do I need to check this or should I rely on the practice-owners to do this? Neither of them have indemnity with Dental Protection as far as I am aware.

A2. As a registered dentist in your own right, you have a duty to ensure firstly that any dental nurse with whom you work is registered with the GDC (ie don't just assume that the practice owner has done this).  There are special arrangements if the dental nurse is undergoing a formal course of training leading to a qualification that is recognised for registration purposes.  Secondly, you have a further duty to ensure that any such dental nurse has suitable indemnity arrangements in place, for any negligence claims that might be made against her.

 

Locum and/or agency nurses may well be employed by the agency rather than by the practice owner, and many agencies do not make any professional indemnity arrangements on behalf of the dental nurses on their books.

 

If the dental nurse is working with you and/or under your direction and supervision, then your own Dental Protection membership will cover your vicarious liability for the nurse's negligent acts and omissions.  The GDC's current stance - while still somewhat vague - is that this would be sufficient professional indemnity for a dental nurse to have.  The GDC's concern is that patients who have been avoidably harmed by negligent dental treatment, can be properly compensated where appropriate, and in the above situation this can be achieved through your membership of Dental Protection.  Top

Q3. Whilst I am studying for another dental qualification I am working as a locum in a large group practice, two days a week. I am a member of Dental Protection but the dental nurse who regularly works with me on those days, also works as a float nurse for various other dentists in the practice on the other days.  The practice owner (who also employs the dental nurse) doesn't actually do any clinical practice herself and she has told the nurse that she can be covered for professional indemnity purposes through my membership of Dental Protection.  Is that actually correct ?

A3. On the days when she is working with you, or under your direction and supervision, yes.  But not on the other days when she is working for other dentists.  She can obtain professional indemnity in three ways :-

 

  • In her own right (for example, by joining Dental Protection herself)
  • Through the professional indemnity held by her employer, if those arrangements allow for this (some insurance-based arrangements do not)
  • Through the professional indemnity held by the dentist(s) she is working with, or who is directing and supervising her

 

Her safest bet is (a) above and the arrangements set up by Dental Protection allow her to choose whether she wants to be protected against negligence claims only, or for the full range of professional risks (including GDC matters, for example).  This way, she is not dependent upon the professional indemnity arrangements of different dentists at different times and this leaves less scope for a problem to slip down the cracks in between the different indemnity arrangements of all the dentists concerned. 

 

In the slightly unusual example you have quoted, the practice owner may well be in a non-practising category and may not have any indemnity for employed dental nurses included within their membership/subscription.  Top

Dental Protection Limited (registered in England No. 2374160) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Medical Protection Society Limited (MPS) which is registered in England (No.36142). Both companies 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.

 

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