In November 2015, the GDC changed the rules on registration to ensure that all Dentists and Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) have a statutory requirement to maintain adequate and them appropriate indemnity when practising dentistry in the UK. This has been a professional requirement for some time. Paragraph 1.8 of the GDC Standards document makes it clear that all registrants “must have appropriate arrangements in place for patients to seek compensation if they have suffered harm”. The GDC goes on to define such “arrangements” as being “appropriate insurance or indemnity”.
The GDC recently issued detailed guidance as to how this statutory requirement will be satisfied, and set out the obligations for each registrant and potential registrant. You can find this guidance on the GDC website.
This legislation was introduced so that patients can claim any compensation to which they may be entitled. Members who are employed by NHS Trusts, Health Boards, or who are dental nurses employed within a General Dental Practice (including corporates) or a laboratory, may have indemnity provided by their employing Trust, Board, laboratory or practice. Those who are self-employed will be responsible for making their own indemnity arrangements, irrespective of the area of dentistry they work in. It will be the registrant’s responsibility to ensure that the indemnity they have is up to date and suitable to satisfy the requirements.
The GDC has made it clear that registrants who do not have the appropriate arrangements in place may well find themselves facing a fitness to practice investigation, where their registration will be at serious risk.
Dentists and Dental Care Professionals, whose names are already included on the register, will be required to confirm at the time of their registration renewal (November /December for dentists, June/July for DCPs) that they have the appropriate indemnity in place. A declaration will then be required at each yearly renewal. This confirmation will be made by each registrant signing a declaration on their application to renew registration that they have indemnity arrangements in place. The GDC does NOT require sight of evidence the point of renewal.
Dentists and DCPs who work for a locum agency should ensure that they have the appropriate indemnity in place for claims in negligence. Please contact our membership team for an application form and look on our website for further information.
Dental Nurses working in a DPLXtra practice may apply for full membership with Dental Protection at no cost, as part of the scheme. This membership allows them to seek assistance with any aspect of their professional practice.
Dental Nurses and Dental Technicians in the practice or dental laboratory of a Dental Protection member who is paying the appropriate practice principal/owner subscription, are entitled to seek assistance with respect to a claim in negligence where they have been named on the proceedings. They may not seek assistance with any other aspect of their professional practice.
For new registrants, the GDC will require a similar declaration before they start to practise. Newly qualified dental professionals will be asked to sign a declaration on their application form, that by the time they commence clinical practice, they will have appropriate indemnity in place. Similarly dental professionals entering the UK and joining the Register for the first time will be required to make the same declaration.
All registrants may at some stage be asked to provide evidence that they have appropriate insurance or indemnity in place. They will simply need to send a copy of their membership certificate or a copy of their employment contract confirming the insurance or indemnity arrangements. If you are in any doubt about such a formal request for evidence of your indemnity, please contact Dental Protection’s telephone advice line for assistance.
Members can be assured that as long as they are paying the correct subscriptions and have advised us correctly about their current scope of practice, and inform us of any changes to their requirements, their Dental Protection membership will fulfil the GDC’s requirement.
The full guidance offered by the GDC is available on the GDC website.