Handling patient complaints about delays in treatment due to backlogs, and situations where staff refuse a Covid-19 vaccination, are the key areas dental professionals have sought advice and support from Dental Protection in 2021, according to the leading dental indemnifier.
Dental Protection has revealed some of the most common advice themes from March 2020 when the pandemic hit, right through to the present. Throughout the past 18 months, dental professionals have sought advice and support from Dental Protection on a range of evolving challenges, from providing emergency care during lockdown, through to managing with limited PPE, interpreting guidance and returning to work safely.
Dental Protection’s Director Raj Rattan, said dental professionals should take some comfort in the fact that they are all seeking advice from their dental defence organisation on similar challenges, and be reassured that the team at Dental Protection remains responsive and agile to the changing dental landscape.
Some of the most common advice themes:
March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic:
- Provisions for emergency care during lockdown following the closure of dental practices
- The practicalities and indemnity for running/working within Urgent Dental Care Centres and redeployment to other services
- Shortages of PPE
- Teledentistry/remote consultations and triage.
- Queries about reopening of surgeries and returning to work
- Interpretation of the Public Health England/Chief Dental Officer (CDO) guidance in the different UK jurisdictions about the return to work and provision of modified services e.g. AGPs and fallow time
- Queries in relation to the reopening of private practices
- Fit testing of FFP3 facemasks, ranging from who can do this, where they do it and who for, and appropriate indemnity arrangements
- Individual staff difficulties with wearing FFP3 facemasks and returning to work.
- Issues relating to lone working.
- Return to the more usual (non Covid-19) queries about clinical care and patient complaints in relation to their treatment
- Assisting with the flu vaccination roll-out.
January 2021 onwards:
- Covid-19 vaccination queries – administering the vaccine and appropriate indemnity arrangements
- Advice about when a member of staff refuses the vaccine
- Assisting members in managing complaints from patients because treatment has been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions
- Advice in relation to challenging interactions with patients because of continued Covid-19 restrictions in healthcare environments and difficulties in accessing treatment due to accumulated demand
- Healthcare worker self-isolation queries.
Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:
“Due to the rapidly changing dental landscape over the last 18 months, dental professionals have sought advice and support from Dental Protection on a plethora of often complex issues, including deciphering and adhering to evolving guidance, while doing their best to provide necessary care and treatment to their patients.
“We know it has been a challenging time for members, both from a professional and personal perspective and that the cumulative effects of stress have affected many dentists’ sense of mental wellbeing. The social isolation over a prolonged period has also taken its toll in many cases.
“During recent months, requests for advice and support have centred around handling complaints from patients because treatment has been delayed or because they can’t access their dentist quickly because of backlogs of work. Alongside this, many dental teams are experiencing abusive behaviour, as patients have become increasingly frustrated.
“We want to reassure all members that Dental Protection is here to offer support. Throughout the pandemic, members have and can continue to rely on us for advice and assistance. Our teams remain responsive to the evolving challenges, demonstrating thought leadership and agility to ensure that we are doing our very best to help and support.
“Please remember that Dental Protection also offers confidential counselling services as a membership benefit. This is delivered by ICAS’ independent, qualified counsellors who are available 24/7. A range of wellbeing resources are also available including apps, podcasts and webinars at www.dentalprotection.org/uk/wellbeing.”
Notes to editors
Our counselling service is provided by our trusted partners ICAS, who offer a personalised and professional service tailored specifically to your requirements and delivered by experienced qualified counsellors.
ICAS's telephone counselling provides immediate access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and face-to-face counselling sessions can be arranged near to you and at your convenience, all funded by Dental Protection.
The service is entirely independent and confidential. Dental Protection members can call ICAS now on +44 3300 241 021 and quote their Dental Protection membership number to book a free session.
For further information contact: E: [email protected] T: +44 (0)7515 298791
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.