01482 778 463
Established since 1997
No Win No Fee
Award Winning Specialists
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Greater scrutiny must fall on dentists’ indemnity cover to better protect patients – not the legal support they receive

Greater scrutiny must fall on dentists’ indemnity cover to better protect patients – not the legal support they receive

Dental negligence claims | Man receiving dental treatment


It was certainly interesting to read The Dental Defence Union (DDU) recently blaming legal costs relating to cases alleging the negligent treatment of patients as a reason for many dentists not taking out indemnity cover.

It was quite an astonishing claim.

Let’s not forget, the DDU recently chose not to represent the infamous Nottinghamshire-based dentist Dr Desmond D’Mello, despite providing ‘discretionary indemnity’ to him before the bombshell of his mistreatment of patients emerged.

Dr D’Mello was subsequently suspended by the General Dental Council (GDC) over allegations of failing to wash his hands, change gloves or sterilise instruments between seeing patients.

It led to more than 22,000 of his former patients being written to and offered testing for blood-borne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Facing the potential of scores of legal claims being made against him, the DDU said at that stage that it would not assist him with any such claims leaving patients affected by his actions unable to recover for their losses.

The DDU was able to do this as the UK allows such ‘discretionary indemnity’ agreements in dentistry, whereby defence organisations can simply refuse to help their dentist should they be subject to a claim for negligence.

You may ask what is the point of such indemnity cover being in place at all?

Dentists are currently legally required to have some form of indemnity cover, but as specialists in supporting victims of dental negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, we know this is a loosely regulated area and have seen many cases where dentists fail to notify their indemnity provider of claims made against them.

As a consequence of this landscape, as happened in the above example, the likes of the DDU are permitted to opt out of indemnifying an individual if the case is too difficult for them to handle.  They are permitted to choose not to indemnify if it will cost them too much despite receiving premiums.

They are allowed to opt out of doing their job despite getting paid. They leave injured and disfigured patients with absolutely no means of getting their lives back in order.

There have been many cases where dentists simply suddenly disappear completely, perhaps moving abroad.  When this happens, it makes it very difficult to trace a dental defence organisation and make a successful claim.

All of this means that dental patients are some of the least protected in the UK when things go wrong. As a result, they can find themselves facing a battle to secure any compensation at all when they have been harmed by a dentist negligently.

In many cases, remedial dental procedures required after negligent treatment can cost thousands of pounds and it is only through legal support that patients have any hope of covering that cost with a compensation package to assist them.

Therefore, we’d say the DDU is missing the key issue completely when urging the Government to cap legal costs in such cases.

The Government instead should legislate so that all dentists have the relevant indemnity insurance in place should errors be made, and also put measures in place to prevent insurers from choosing not to represent negligent dentists when patients have suffered harm at their hands. The DDU and the like should take a look and self-evaluate.

It should be looking inward and taking steps to ensure the public are protected from dentists like D’Mello.

Blaming Claimants in the way the DDU did is totally disingenuous and demonstrates an obvious lack of understanding.  The reality is that legal costs in these cases are generated as a consequence of negligent dental treatment.

To have any meaningful impact on reducing legal cases the DDU and its associates should train, employ and indemnify better dentists.

When it goes wrong the DDU should simply be getting on with doing its job properly.  In the longer term, root and branch reform of the dental and dental insurance industry is needed.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Sam Thompson

Chartered Legal Executive, Clinical Negligence

sjt@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request a callback

 I am an existing client.










Or call us FREE on:

01482 778 463


trust pilot

The data you submit will only be used by Hudgell Solicitors and only for the purpose of dealing with your enquiry.
See full privacy policy.

Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Dispute with EasyJet

"Although Hudgell offices were not local to us, there was no need for concern, as… "

Glyn

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Always on the ball

"Always on the ball! Great at what they do, very professional and fast with a… "

CHRISTOPHER CURTIS

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service

"Excellent service. Very happy with result. Thank you."

Miss Erika Panakova

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Was an easy process and the caseworker…

"Was an easy process and the caseworker was very informative and very knowledgeable on my… "

Rachel Fee

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Lovely business to deal with

"Lovely business to deal with. Would recommend to anyone."

Mrs Kelly Byrnes

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great communication

"Great communication! My solicitor was lovely to deal with, open and listened to me."

Sue Ockendon

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very happy with how they managed my…

"Very happy with how they managed my claim. I would recommend them."

Mr Steve Roberts

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful and truly understanding in…

"Very helpful and truly understanding in a very sensitive case would highly recommend to anyone"

Miss Sarah Morris

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Friendly

"Friendly, supportive and professional, couldn't ask for more."

Mr Adrian Fisher

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

A first class service with a heart too

"I never had claimed before and was quite apprehensive about dealing with claims solicitors as… "

M Sheikh

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on…

"They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on my own after my experience. They… "

Mrs Melinda Diane Tovey

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

The service was excellent and Lauren…

"The service was excellent and Lauren Cartwright kept me well informed and gave good advice… "

Mr Roger Harrison

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Recommended company

"Excellent service, fully recommended. Efficient communication and reliable."

Mr R Taylor

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell took over my road traffic case…

"Hudgell took over my road traffic case from a different solicitors and successfully negotiated a… "

Mr JSW

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors made my personal…

"Hudgell Solicitors made my personal injury claim so easy, they got me the treatment i… "

Mr Nick Todd

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I have never used solicitors before

"I have never used solicitors before, my dealings with Hudgell have been excellent I have… "

David Varley

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful

"Very helpful"

Ethan Ferguson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

First Class service

"Hudgell Solicitors are currently working on my case and I must say so far the… "

Emma Jeeves

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Always kept me up to date on all…

"Always kept me up to date on all correspondence concerning the case and acknowledged any… "

Mrs Anne Marie Wells

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent solicitors kept us informed…

"Excellent solicitors kept us informed at all times and since it’s been a lengthy case… "

Anon

Rated 9.4 out of 10 based on 453 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

VIEW DETAILS

© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90