Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, Head of the DDU

We come into our own when our members need us most. In 2012, more of you had reason to seek our help.

The number of claims reported by members rose by 32% last year. One reason for this is that claimants' solicitors have launched proceedings ahead of the changes to costs that will be introduced in April. And the GDC saw a rise in complaints of 44% in 2012 although in most cases, the dental professional's fitness to practise was not found to be impaired. Meanwhile calls to our advice line increased by 12% in 2012 compared to 2011 (itself a record year).

It's a shame that some dental professionals only really discover the benefits of being a member when something has gone wrong. There is so much more to our services than that.

You can complete our free online course in dental ethics and law and gain five hours' of verifiable CPD. The course is available through our website This issue addresses a range of dento-legal concerns raised by members and includes a member case with useful advice. In addition, take a look at Learn and develop on our website. You'll find our courses and educational resources.

Such training and development opportunities are intended to support you throughout your career and help you avoid the kinds of incidents that can easily result in a complaint or claim. And of course, you can always call our advice line if you have a dento-legal query and want to speak directly to one of our team of experts.

I mention this because I want members to reap all the rewards of membership. I am aware of the pressures that dental professionals are under: from inspections to the need to implement infection control measures against a background of an effective NHS pay freeze for GDPs and the difficult economic situation.

As a not-for-profit organisation, our role is to help you practise with confidence by continuing to deliver the highest standards of service and support.

I hope you enjoy this edition of your Journal.

Rupert Hoppenbrouwers
Head of the Dental Defence Union

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This guidance was correct at publication . It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.


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