All change at the top of the DDU

Change is afoot at the Dental Defence Union (DDU), with both Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, head of the organisation, and his deputy, Bryan Harvey, set to step down at the end of this year.

Taking over from Rupert in 2016 will be John Makin, while Leo Briggs will be stepping into the shoes of Bryan.

Between them, Rupert and Bryan have almost 50 years' combined service at the organisation. John and Leo have both worked as DDU dento-legal advisers for many years and will be familiar to many dental professionals from their regular speaking slots at professional conferences on dento-legal issues.

Rupert joined the MDU's dental division in 1987 in search of a new challenge, following successful parallel careers in general practice and dental education. Bryan began working at the newly formed DDU in 1995 after a long career in general practice.

The DDU will retain the valuable knowledge and expertise of both Rupert and Bryan, who will continue to work for the organisation part time in senior dento-legal adviser roles.

John qualified from Manchester Dental School in 1983 and has postgraduate diplomas in both law and dental education. A former GDP, John has nearly 30 years' experience and for a period was also a GDC Fitness to Practise panellist. This experience has been invaluable in equipping him for his new role and has provided a valuable insight into matters such as the DDU's campaign for changes to the FTP process. His interests in dental education led him to play an active part in Foundation Training for many years, both as a trainer and a VT adviser/training programme director for Manchester and Exeter DFT Schemes. More recently he has been heavily involved in developing and delivering the DDU's undergraduate and postgraduate education programmes.

Speaking about his appointment, John said:

'I feel hugely privileged to take on this role and look forward to building on the firm foundations laid by Rupert and Bryan during their many years of service. It is thanks to their leadership and enthusiasm that the DDU has attracted so many members, and in view of the unprecedented level of demand for assistance, I am delighted that we shall be retaining their knowledge and experience.

'I am also delighted that I will be working closely with Leo Briggs in his role as my new deputy.'

A dento-legal adviser since 2005, Leo has assisted a great many dentists and DCPs over the years with dento-legal advice, support and assistance, while still working as a specialist periodontist - something which he plans to continue, seeing patients on Saturdays. Working with John, Leo pledges to ensure that the DDU continues to be responsive to members' needs. He cites the DDU's advice line as a priority, to ensure members can continue to receive prompt, clear, correct and relevant advice to help them deal with difficult issues in their professional life.

Speaking about his time as head of the DDU, Rupert said:

'When I started life at the DDU, there were just three advisers looking after the interests of dental members, whereas today we have 15 dento-legal advisers, plus 11 claims handlers and a large team of in-house solicitors. The profession has changed radically in the last 28 years, with a huge increase in the incidence of claims and complaints compared to when I started, as well as a major shift in technology from paper to electronic systems, both externally and within the DDU. Bryan Harvey oversaw this shift internally, helping to establish an electronic membership database and case file management system, something which was very important given the increasing complexity and extent of the DDU's work.

'In the future the profession is only like to change further and I'm sure that the DDU will get even busier, so it was important to have the right people to succeed me and Bryan, and ensure the organisation continues to evolve to meet our members' changing needs. With many years experience between them, I am confident the DDU is in safe hands with the appointment of John and Leo.'

This guidance was correct at publication 28/09/2015. 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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Press releases

All change at the top of the DDU

Change is afoot at the Dental Defence Union (DDU), with both Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, head of the organisation, and his deputy, Bryan Harvey, set to step down at the end of this year.

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