01482 778 463
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 from a solicitor

 I am an existing client.









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

Very professional helpful and very…

"Very professional helpful and very friendly ."

Mr Luke Webb

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

Very happy with the fast service…

"Very happy with the fast service provided by Lauren at this firm. Always there to… "

Emma

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

Made it very easy

"Made it very easy"

Mr Connor Robson

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

Really good service!

"Really good service!"

Mr Tharsan Uthayaseelan

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

Good Experience

"Very good experience with this firm and my excellent lawyer, definitely a firm I will… "

Ms Asha Joyce

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

Highly recommended,very helpful and…

"Highly recommended,very helpful and good customer service, they are a company that really care and… "

Mr Robert Edward Palmer

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

Rebecca Cone looked after my claim and…

"Rebecca Cone looked after my claim and I would like to say that she was… "

Anthony Lyell

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

Hudgell Solicitors

"Hudgell Solicitors. Was very helpful in dealing with my case. With the road accident I… "

Mr Anthony Navier

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

Hudgell Solicitors dealt with our dental negligence claim

"Hudgell Solicitors dealt with our claim very professionally, keeping us up to date at every… "

Fiona lamb

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

Great service

"Great service"

Mr Ian James Bedingfield

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

was very good and deal with my case

"was very good and deal with my case"

Miss Diane Rastall

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

Amazing service, would definitely recommend 😊

"Amazing service in all aspects of my case and very understanding of the situation. Made… "

Miss Laura Delaney

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

Excellent service would use again

"Excellent service would use again"

Mrs Debbie Morrison

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

Excellent Service

"Sam Thompson provided an excellent professional service in my medical negligence claim. Hudgell's kept me… "

HS

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

Good efficient service by Sara Kidd

"Good efficient service by Sara Kidd. Thank you."

Mrs M

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

1st class service

"Excellent service throughout the process. Always kept me informed of developments by phone or post.… "

Miss Claire Milburn

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

Hudgells solicitors a sure win

"I would certainly recommend hudgells solicitors to anyone wanting to file a claim for medical/dental… "

Joanne Pendlebury

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

I would definitely recommend Hudgell …

"I would definitely recommend Hudgell Solicitors to family and friends. My family”s whole experience from… "

Allison Kienlen

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

I have found the service to be Excellent

"I have found the service to be excellent, always return calls & emails promptly &… "

Mr Simon Hunt

Rated 9.3 out of 10 based on 412 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