When you are employed as a dentist or a dental care professional, it is a common assumption that the employer will automatically assist in the event of a negligence claim being brought against the individual clinician, or the employing body (or both). In most cases the employer will assist, but the solicitors working for the NHS Litigation Authority will act for the trust, and conduct the case in the interests of the employer, not the individual.
Having the strength of Dental Protection behind you to provide independent advice and support, whatever direction the case might take, provides invaluable peace of mind as well as the obvious financial protection. Gone are the days when members working in the salaried services were relatively immune from dento-legal threats. In many ways you are now more exposed in the glare of performance measurement and clinical governance than many of your colleagues in general practice.
Developments at the GDC to address clinical performance (as opposed to professional conduct) issues, will add further emphasis to the importance of professional indemnity for those working in the salaried services. NHS/Crown Indemnity offers no assistance whatsoever in this arena.
Membership of Dental Protection will give members working in the Salaried Services a peace of mind should there be a challenge to their professional integrity in respect of the specialised work they carry out. 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 varsity of a research project. These can be very worrying allegations for any dentist and can result in disciplinary proceedings being instigated by the Trust/Health Board or by the GDC.