The Dental Defence Union (DDU) is calling on the newly appointed health and social care secretary, Thérèse Coffey, to make regulatory reform and support for struggling dental professionals a top healthcare priority for the government.
During the Conservative party conference, the DDU published its dento-legal government agenda which outlines three key priorities.
- Support an exhausted workforce - morale among dental professionals is at a low ebb caused by dento-legal issues such as increasing complaints about treatment delays. This is causing increasing stress levels, which is not good for clinicians or patients. The government must do more to support dental professionals and stop fatigue setting in.
- Deliver modern healthcare professional regulation - top to bottom reform of GDC regulation which is too rigid and governed by outdated legislation.
- Get to grips with runaway clinical negligence costs - the costs of meeting future claims liabilities for the NHS in England now stands at £128 billion. The total budget for the NHS in 2022/23 is expected to be £155 billion. This is not a sustainable situation and legal reform is desperately needed to rebalance the system.
Head of the DDU John Makin said:
"Dental professionals are working flat out to care for their patients, in many cases to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing. They deserve the support and resources needed to enable them to care for patients safely.
"The current situation is causing stress levels to rise among dental professionals and this is being added to by delays for the minority of cases reaching a fitness to practise investigation. The legislation needed to modernise regulation was due to be introduced this year and was then delayed - it needs to be a top priority again.
"Meanwhile, much needed funds could be retained in the NHS through legal reform of the system under which billions of pounds are leaving the NHS in clinical negligence claims.
"If the government wants to prove its commitment to the dental profession and to boost morale, we urge them to seriously consider our package of priorities."
Read about the MDU agenda: priorities for the new government here. (PDF)
The MDU is the parent company of the DDU.
This page was correct at publication on 04/10/2022. Any guidance 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.