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8 out of 10 members admit the fear of being sued causes stress and anxiety

Post date: 08/04/2019 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 08/04/2019

8 out of 10 Dental Protection members admit the fear of being sued causes stress and anxiety

Receiving a claim, a complaint, or being the subject of an investigation by the General Dental Council (GDC) can be a source of stress and anxiety for dental professionals.

A Dental Protection survey of over 1,100 dentist members reveals that nearly eight out of ten (77%) of respondents admit that the fear of being sued has caused them stress or anxiety1.

Studies suggest that healthcare professionals often do not seek help when they find themselves in in such circumstances2. It is important to recognise the early signs and symptoms of stress and to seek help in order to avoid the negative impact which stress can have on a dentist’s professional and personal life.

Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:

“Stress can impact on a dentist’s health and practice in a number of ways. It can affect confidence, clinical judgement, morale and even lead to performance issues. Research confirms that high stress levels affect performance and increase the potential for adverse outcomes of error. These may in turn spark patient complaints and claims and a self-perpetuating vicious circle is established. Sustained periods of stress with poor coping strategies can lead to burnout3.

“Modern life is full of challenges, stressors and pressures - and the dental profession is no exception. During Stress Awareness month, Dental Protection would like to encourage dentists to seek help and advice to manage the condition before it causes irreversible changes to health and well-being.”

Dental Protection provides access to a counselling service for members who are experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties as a result of receiving a complaint or a claim, or who are dealing with a challenging dentolegal issue4.


For press enquiries, please contact the MPS press office.

  1. The Dental Protection member survey ran from 8 March to 25 March 2018 and received 1129 responses from UK dentists.
  2. Winwood PC et al The role of occupational stress in the maladaptive use of alcohol by dentists: A study of South Australian general dental practitioners. Australian Dental Journal 2003, Vol 48 Issue 2; 102-109

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support together with the right to request indemnity for complaints or claims arising from professional practice.   

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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