EVERY dentist must have it, but there is currently lively debate as to exactly what kind of indemnity product is best.
MDDUS provides more than indemnity cover for claims in negligence. We believe what we offer is the gold standard, with personal service from a team of very experienced dental and legal advisers providing dentists with lifetime peace of mind that timely, reassuring help is at hand should they find themselves in professional difficulty. We believe that members benefit by having their case managed by the same team of expert advisers however the case evolves, rather than being passed from one to another and on again as a complaint changes to a claim to a GDC case or an inquest/fatal accident inquiry.
We offer breadth and depth of experience in defending members successfully before the GDC and in negligence claims. We use discretion positively to provide assistance and meet claims that an insurer might very well turn down.
It is imperative that patients have access to redress when things go wrong. Our occurrence-based indemnity has no time limit or cost cap on liability. This means that we can help members for any claim that arises, even if they have moved abroad, ceased clinical work, retired or are deceased when the claim or complaint arises. This has to be the safer option – for professionals and patients alike.
Dentists won’t have failed to notice that GPs in England and Wales are set to join the state-backed indemnity schemes, CNSGP and FLS from 1 April this year, but there are many risks these new government schemes won’t cover. Doctors within the schemes will still need MDDUS membership for advice on complaints and ethical dilemmas, and claims arising from non-NHS work. We will continue to offer legal representation at inquests, GMC hearings and disciplinary investigations. Such situations can seriously impact upon the reputation and career of any professional and could ultimately result in being struck off.
There has been no appetite in the NHS for extending these schemes to dentists. We understand, with our experience in dealing with claims against dentists, that it is often difficult to separate which treatments in the same tooth were carried out under the NHS and which were paid for privately. This is a level of complexity that simply does not apply in the new GP schemes, making it unlikely that the Government will extend the schemes to dentists, given the relatively low-value claims involved.
Alternative commercial insurance products are becoming more widely available, but it is increasingly difficult for dentists to access accurate information about the pros and cons of each product type. Unlike insurers, we’re not in it for the profit, we have no small print to hide behind and we provide greater protection than the commercial alternatives available. Typically with a claims-made product, you are transferring the risk to your insurer one year at a time, until you retire. If you simply want to change back to a traditional indemnity provider, you will either have to buy “run-off” cover or take on the risk of any unknown claim personally. The benefit of our product is that you transfer the risk to us permanently, no run-off cover is necessary. Yes, it may be more expensive than an insurer in the short term, but you buy lifetime peace of mind.
Fortunately, MDDUS’ dental members enjoy comprehensive protection that is competitively priced.
This is reflected in our dental membership base which has grown in England year-on-year since 2014. In 2018 our membership increased by 41.5 per cent as compared with 2017. Our growth is driven by the personal recommendation of our members, reflecting both the professional service received and our competitive fees. Market share in Scotland is around 70 per cent and is now above 20 per cent elsewhere in the UK and growing fast.