The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is seeking views about indemnity cover for dentists and other healthcare professionals who are not covered by any existing or proposed state-backed scheme, via an open consultation which closes on 28 February.
Commenting, Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:
“Discretionary indemnity as offered by Dental Protection has met the needs of healthcare professionals and patients for over 100 years and continues to do so. In their consultation document, the Government admits that they are only aware of a limited number of cases where current arrangements have caused any issues for patients or healthcare professionals and the examples referenced do not relate to the actions of Dental Protection.
“We are particularly concerned that these proposals would lead to dentists having to pay additional costs – including the cost of insurance premium tax – at a time when the rising cost of clinical negligence is becoming increasingly unaffordable.
“We are also concerned that the limits and exclusions of some insurance products may not sufficiently protect dentists against a claim; discretionary indemnity does not have such limits or exclusions.
“We recommend, as an alternative, introducing a mandatory Code of Conduct for the discretionary providers. This Code of Conduct would, among other things, set out agreed principles for financial transparency and an independent complaints function.
“It is also vital that the Government advances its long awaited strategy for controlling the rising cost of clinical negligence. Dental Protection believes the impact of rising clinical negligence costs on dentists has received insufficient attention and is urging the Government to ensure that the forthcoming strategy tackles this problem head on. Urgent action is needed to ensure that the cost of clinical negligence is balanced with society’s ability to pay”
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