Claims against dentists continue to rise

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A sharp increase in claims against dentists is a result of a growing compensation culture in our society, according to UK-wide dental defence organisation MDDUS.

Figures from MDDUS’ Annual Report for 2012 reveal a 53 per cent rise in claims intimated against General Dental Practitioners over the year compared to 2011, while there is also a 67 per cent increase in the number of GDC cases handled.

A small part of the increase in claims can be attributed to our growing membership with dental members increasing by 3.3 per cent in 2012, but the steep rise reflects the trend in increased litigation with MDDUS seeing evidence of a growing compensation culture in the UK over the last few years.

“This rise in claims may be related to the harsh economic climate of recent years but is being manifested in increasing claim rates and consequent legal costs,” says MDDUS Head of Dental Division Aubrey Craig.

“Dentists are being subjected to a rapidly growing number of claims yet we see no evidence to suggest a drop in standards or patient care.

“The increase in regulatory cases is consistent with figures reported by the GDC and reflects a number of factors including a greater proportion of dentists now being reported to regulators by employers or colleagues.

“Nowadays dentists are also more risk-aware and are therefore more likely to seek advice early rather than risk problems escalating into complaints or legal claims.”

Despite the increase in claims against MDDUS members in 2012, over 70 per cent of dental claims were settled without a payment being made, while 86.8 per cent of GDC cases (figure from 2011) concluded with no sanctions imposed against MDDUS members.

As for the type of calls MDDUS received last year, difficulties with patients was the most frequent reason for a dentist to contact our dental advisory team. “Other topics that regularly concern our members include complaints, dental records, problems with colleagues and treatment planning,” adds Craig.

“Dentists are encouraged to contact their dental defence organisation for expert dento-legal advice on any issues of concern.”

Ends

For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0845 270 2034 or 07976 272266, or email rihendry@mddus.com.

Note to editors

MDDUS (The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is a medical and dental defence organisation providing access to professional indemnity and expert medico- and dento-legal advice for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals throughout the UK. For further information on MDDUS go to www.mddus.com.

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