DDU recruits more dentists to meet demand for dento-legal advice

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) has boosted the number of advisers on hand to support their members facing an unprecedented level of dento-legal issues.

The DDU had its busiest year on record during 2021 with over 3,300 cases opened to support members of which 68% related to complaints. In addition, there were around 7,000 calls to the 24-hour dento-legal advice line.

The new recruits, who are qualified dentists, mean there are now twenty dentists supporting DDU members with a range of dento-legal issues.

The new team members are:

  • Sarah Hartridge, who has a background in general practice, hospital and community services as well as teaching undergraduate students in periodontology
  • James Kingham, who has been a dental foundation trainer since 2004 and is a training programme director for Health Education England. Alongside this he currently works part-time as an associate in Hampshire, having been a practice principal.

In addition, both Simon Kidd and Jo-Anne Taylor, who joined the DDU in 2020, have taken on expanded roles as dento-legal advisers.

Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU, commented:

"Over the past two years, dental professionals have turned to us in greater numbers than ever before for reassurance and support. Calling our dento-legal advice line is free, confidential and does not affect future subscriptions. Our expanded team of twenty advisers are all dentists themselves, and therefore understand the challenges members face. I want to warmly welcome Sarah and James to the DDU team, and to congratulate Jo-Anne and Simon on their new roles.

"Despite some restrictions being lifted, practices still have issues with access and capacity. This is leading to a spike in complaints, many about treatment availability. Proactive and consistent communication will help to manage patient expectations as dental professionals continue to prioritise patient care while dealing with the challenging situation."

Previously, a DDU analysis revealed the main causes of pandemic complaints were:

  • treatment availability
  • dissatisfaction with treatment
  • issues around fees and patient requests for refunds
  • communication/attitude
  • COVID-secure measures (infection control, PPE and face masks).

This page was correct at publication on 22/02/2022. 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.