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Supporting dentists through the clinical negligence process

14 October 2020

A full-time dental GP in Ireland can now expect to receive one clinical negligence claim over a typical career. If it happens to you, having the right support can make the experience a lot less daunting. 

As a Dental Protection member we can provide you with expertise and reassurance as we manage your case at every step. 

This video will take you through how the claims process usually works and how we can be there for you. Not every claim follows the same process but in most claims, you can expect to go through the following stages. 

Stage 1: Incident 

It's vital you make us aware of an incident as soon as it occurs as we may be able to prevent it from escalating to a claim. 

Remember that a claim can be brought up to two years after an incident, sometimes even longer. 

Step 2: Complaint made 

Often, a complaint will be made before you receive a claim. This can be a verbal or written complaint. A claim can even come from a complaint that you thought was already resolved. 

Stage 3: Request for records 

This request is typically made by a solicitor but can also come from the patient themselves or a representative. If you receive a request for patient records it usually signals an intention to investigate. Most never become claims but we work to try to prevent things escalating so it's important to notify us right away. 

Stage 4: Disclosure of records 

At this stage there are two possible outcomes: no further action or a claim being made. 

Stage 5: Letter of claim 

On receiving a claim letter you must contact us immediately so we can deal with it on your behalf.  

The more information you can provide the quicker we can respond. 

Stage 6: Our investigations 

We get to work on your behalf. We're meticulous in investigating the claim. A letter of claim can be very brief. We will seek details of the allegations being made from the patient’s solicitors, together with any further clinical records required, to allow us to fully understand and investigate the claim.  

Stage 7: We prepare a response 

If required, we seek expert opinion on the allegations made and prepare a letter of response that either defends the claim or makes a settlement offer to the patient. 

We ensure you are fully involved in this process and agree with the response being sent. 

Our letter of response can lead to one of three outcomes... 

  1. 1. Claim defended and closed  The claim against you ends. 
  2. 2. Agree to settle the claim The claim against you ends and we take care of the compensation and legal costs.
  3. 3. Claim defended and pursued Even at this stage most claims can be resolved without a court hearing. 

If court proceedings are issued you must let us know immediately as there are strict deadlines involved. We are here to support you through this process and we never stop working to find a solution. 

Practise with confidence 

We know that being the subject of a claim can be distressing. That's why our expert team do everything they can to guide you through the process. 

Our primary concern at every step is to secure the best possible outcome for you. 

So you can get back to doing what you do best. 

Please note: Dental Protection does not maintain this article and therefore the advice given may be incorrect or out of date, and may not constitute a definitive or complete statement of the legal, regulatory and/or clinical environment. MPS accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the advice given, in particular where the legal, regulatory and/or clinical environment has changed. Articles are not intended to constitute advice in any specific situation, and if you are a member you should contact Dental Protection for tailored advice. All implied warranties and conditions are excluded, to the maximum extent permitted by law.