The results of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the General Dental Council (GDC) by Dental Protection demonstrate how important it is for dental professionals to have comprehensive indemnity cover and dentolegal support when faced with GDC proceedings.
Nearly one third (29%) of the warnings issued by the GDC in the past five years relate to personal conduct matters. Three quarters of these were given as a result of a driving offence.
This data supports the importance for dentists to maintain their membership of a dental defence organisation that will safeguard their interests and reputation before the regulator.
Dental Protection regularly defends members on a wide range of matters – including personal conduct matters. However, not all organisations provide protection against GDC investigations that relate to personal conduct, and so the dentist would have to personally pay for this legal support when faced by the regulator. When choosing their indemnity provider, it is important for dentists to consider whether their indemnity in GDC cases is limited to ‘the practice of dentistry’.
Having effective legal representation may also help a dentist to eliminate the risk of a warning altogether. In late 2018, Dental Protection brought Judicial Review proceedings against the GDC’s decision to issue a warning to a member who had committed a minor driving offence. In this case, Dental Protection successfully argued that a warning would be an excessive and unjust sanction by the regulator.
The FOI request to the GDC also revealed that nearly one-third (27%) of warnings issued to dentists related to record keeping. Dental Protection provides advice and has a wide range of workshops and education modules to help dentists with a variety of topics including record keeping.
Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:
“The GDC investigation process can be very unsettling for dentists who fear that their reputation is at stake. If you receive a warning you will have to disclose details of the sanction in any future job applications. Any dentist who receives a published warning will also find that details of the warning are put on the GDC website.
“While many healthcare professionals may feel that personal conduct issues do not necessarily make you unfit to practise, the GDC are clear that dental professionals have a responsibility in their personal life to behave appropriately.
“Unlike others, Dental Protection supports our members when they face allegations related to personal conduct in front of the regulator.
“Dental Protection continues to support dentists throughout all stages of a GDC investigation by providing the best possible support from our experienced team.”
For press enquiries, please contact the MPS press office.
Notes to editors
Information provided to MPS by GDC under a Freedom of Information request based on warnings issued between 2014 and 2018.
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.