Nearly three quarters (72%) of UK Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) did not have legal representation when facing a GDC fitness to practise hearing according to figures obtained by Dental Protection covering 2018-21. This compares to 34% of dentists who were not represented.
The figures, obtained by Dental Protection through an FOI request to the GDC, also showed that those DCPs without legal representation were more likely to receive a harsher sanction. 77% were either suspended or erased from the register, and only 10% were concluded with no adverse finding.
In comparison, 32% of DCPs with legal representation were either suspended or erased from the dentists register, and 39% were concluded with no adverse finding.
Dental Protection is urging dental nurses, technicians, therapists, clinical dental technicians, orthodontic therapists and hygienists to consider the protection they have in place and whether this includes support for GDC investigations, so they do not face the process alone.
Yvonne Shaw, Deputy Director at Dental Protection, said: “These figures serve as a powerful reminder of how important it is to be able to request assistance with GDC investigations. The difference in outcomes when a DCP has legal representation at their hearing is stark.
“Dental Protection supports a range of dental professionals from the moment a GDC complaint is received, to its conclusion at a hearing, providing the very best legal defence and a team of professionals committed to achieving the best possible outcome for members. I cannot imagine facing this lengthy and complex process alone, without someone fighting my corner. Sadly though, the majority of DCPs do, and go on to face tougher sanctions at their hearing when compared to those with legal representation.
“Whilst employed members of the dental team may be protected from clinical negligence claims through practice or hospital schemes, these may not include support with GDC investigations. Similarly, some individual products may not extend beyond claims indemnity. These products are designed to ensure patients are able to seek compensation if they are harmed and satisfy the legal requirement for claims indemnity.
“GDC investigations impact on mental health and reputation, and for some have career ending implications. It is important that DCPs understand the nature of the protection they have in place and whether they should obtain additional support for GDC investigations.”
For further information contact: [email protected]
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 and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any 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.