Membership information 0800 561 9000
Dentolegal advice 0800 561 1010

Successful defence

  • Q
    Can a student orthodontic therapist work in the period between completing a recognised course (and hopefully passing!) and receiving the certificate from the Royal College and, in turn, registration with the GDC?
    +
    27 August 2014
    There can be a period of several weeks between the two events and indemnity would be needed if she is to be able to work. What would you advise? 

    The General Dental Council regards DCPs as being either ‘in training or registered’; there is no third category. It follows therefore that when a therapist qualifies, one could regard the training period as being at an end. If there is a delay before full registration as an orthodontic therapist is reached, it is an interesting argument as to whether they are in a position to practise and to what extent.

    The GDC understands that as part of their training, orthodontic therapy students are set a work plan treating patients as prescribed by the supervising dentist that would continue after the official end of their training. As a consequence, orthodontic therapy students are regarded as being ‘in training’ during the interim period while their application for full registration is considered.

    This means they can continue to work as student orthodontic therapists as long as they are suitably indemnified and work within their training and competency. Most of these individuals will previously have registered with the GDC (usually as dental nurses) and their re-registration is often simply a formality unless of course the students have disclosed some form of health or character issue to the GDC that might delay things.

    If she has access to indemnity as a dental member of MPS whilst, a student orthodontic therapist, or as a student on a recognised student outreach programme which has appropriate indemnity, then her indemnity will continue, although upon registration she will move to a first-year qualified grade.

    If the orthodontic therapist is indemnified by another company or insurance policy, it will be necessary for her to check with them to ensure that any indemnity continues.

  • Q
    I am a dental nurse. Does my dentist's own indemnity arrangements cover me?
    +
    20 August 2015

    Limited Indemnity is available at no cost to a dental nurse when he or she is working as an employee, of a full-subscription Dental Protection member who is in the appropriate membership category. As a benefit of membership, an unlimited number of named employee dental nurses can be included per member subscription. All you need to do is to ask your dentist to contact us.

    That employee indemnity however only extends to claims in negligence and will not provide assistance for any GDC or disciplinary matters or for the provision of individual written or telephone advice.

    Indemnity, offering the full range of member benefits is available to all registered dental nurses either as direct members (following the payment of the appropriate subscription) or (free of charge) where the practice is part of the Dental Protection Xtra practice scheme.

  • Q
    I am a Locum dental nurse employed by the agency itself, rather than the practises where I am placed. How does that affect my access to indemnity?
    +
    16 September 2014

    This almost certainly means that you would be unwise to rely upon the indemnity arrangements of the dentists with whom you are placed from time to time. The locum agency may only be insured or otherwise indemnified for the acts and omissions of nurses who are employed by or working under contract with them, at the time when a claim is made. This may be months or years after the date of the relevant treatment, by which time you may no longer be involved with that agency. To best protect yourself, you would be wiser to ensure that you have access to full indemnity in your own name, so that you are not dependent upon the indemnity arrangements made by, and maintained by, others with whom you may have only a short-term relationship.

  • Q
    I work for a trust and one of my patients died unexpectedly. Can I assume the barrister for the Trust will represent me at the inquest?
    +
    08 January 2015
    The barrister will have been instructed by the Trust's solicitors to protect the Trust's own position and its interests. It may be that questions will be asked at the coroner's inquest about the role of the theatre or nursing staff who were responsible for the deceased's care. The barrister will normally be instructed to deal purely with the reputation of the Trust and other members of staff and may not be there to protect your own position particularly if there is a conflict between you and the Trust about the events leading up to the death of the patient.

    In cases like this, Dental Protection’s solicitors have instructed an experienced barrister to work with our solicitors, the dento-legal adviser and the consultant to prepare for the Inquest. The barrister would normally attend the Inquest and look after the interests of the consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon during the hearing, especially where the consultant’s care of the patient is likely to be subject to detailed investigation by the coroner and/or the deceased’s family.

  • Q
    If a dentist and a DCP were in conflict and brought to the GDC for a hearing, how would Dental Protection deal with the apparent conflict of interest? Would it support the dentist and not the DCP?
    +
    22 October 2014

    We will always do our best to look after any member irrespective of their membership status or the subscription they pay. Advice is provided on an individual basis and where a potential conflict of interest occurs, steps are always taken to ensure that advice is given to each clinician quite independently of the other.

    Dental Protection has a large team of advisers spread over three offices and therefore there is no difficulty in maintaining complete confidentiality, with each individual clinician having their own adviser.

    Certainly where two clinicians have the misfortune to appear at the GDC and both are dental members, there would be two entirely separate legal teams. This is of course quite costly but is absolutely fundamental to the assistance Dental Protection offers.

  • Q
    If my indemnity arrangements against negligence claims is provided by my employing dentist, what happens if I am no longer working for that dentist when a claim is made later?
    +
    16 September 2014

    This is one of the advantages of occurrence-based indemnity. With access to this type of indemnity offered by Dental Protection, all that matters is that you were included in your former employer's indemnity arrangements at the time of the incident. This means that we can still help you, irrespective of how many years ago the incident took place, and whether or not you are still working for that dentist (or working in dentistry at all). 

  • Q
    What happens if my indemnity against negligence claims is provided through my employing dentist’s membership? Surely your first priority will be to look after the dentist, not me?
    +
    16 September 2014

    Over 70% of the UK dental profession are already with Dental Protection, so it is not unusual for us to have two or more members involved in the same case. In some countries of the world, 90% or more of the dental profession are dental members. If we (or the members involved) believe that there is an actual or potential conflict of interest, we simply arrange for entirely separate representation of each member, giving them access to separate dento-legal advisers, and (where necessary) separate firms of solicitors and separate barristers. In one complex case a few years ago we had 11 members involved, each of which had entirely separate representation. They were all entirely satisfied that their interests were never compromised at any stage.

    However if you would prefer to arrange professional indemnity in your own right, this can be done at a very reasonable cost. The choice is yours. 

  • Q
    What if I am not actually employed by the dentist with whom I am working? How sure can I be that I have access to indemnity by that dentist’s arrangements?
    +
    16 September 2014

    The GDC position statement giving advice to dental registrants on this subject (Sept 2013) is as follows:

    'If you are relying on arrangements made by your employer, you must check the indemnity position with them. You must not make any assumptions about whether or not you are covered by their arrangements – you must always check as you will have to provide proof of your cover if a patient decides to make a claim against you, or in the event that a complaint about your fitness to practise is made to the GDC. If all your work is carried out at your employer’s workplace, then your employer should have made arrangements which cover all the relevant risks but you must check that this is the case.'

    If you think that you have been included in any dentist's membership for the purposes of providing you with access to indemnity against negligence claims, you can ask for a copy of a membership certificate confirming this.