The GDC says all members of the dental team, including nurses, 'must have appropriate arrangements in place for patients to seek compensation if they suffer harm' (paragraph 1.8, Standards for the Dental Team 2013).
As a dental nurse, you are responsible for ensuring either that you have access to indemnity in your own right or that appropriate arrangements are in place through your employer. The GDC recognises the following:
- dental defence organisation membership - your own or indemnity provided through your employer's membership
- professional indemnity insurance held by you or your employer
- indemnity provided by NHS bodies.
The GDC says that you 'must not make any assumptions about whether or not you are covered by [your employer's] arrangements' and if you are relying on these you must check the position with them (GDC, Guidance on indemnity, June 2016).
All dental professionals applying for restoration to the register are now required to provide evidence of their indemnity or proposed indemnity.
Further information about the GDC’s registration requirements can be found here.
Even if you rely on your employer's professional indemnity arrangements for claims, it is worth considering whether it is better to be a member of a dental defence organisation in your own right. For example, if you were the subject of a GDC investigation, your employer's indemnity would not provide any assistance.
Individual dental nurse membership of the DDU gives you access to other membership benefits, such as access to dento-legal advice, as well as your own professional indemnity. This means you will have somewhere to turn for expert dento-legal advice and legal representation if a GDC investigation or disciplinary hearing arising from your clinical practice.
Find out more about membership of the DDU.
This guidance was correct at publication 11/05/2017. 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.