DDU successfully defending more claims, annual report reveals

Dentists are feeling the pressure from the current adversarial climate where complaints and claims are common, but the Dental Defence Union (DDU) revealed that it is defending more negligence claims successfully – with no compensation being paid in just under 60% of dental claims in 2015.

Following the newly released Annual Report for 2015 for the MDU (the parent company of the DDU), John Makin, head of the DDU, said:

'The continued financial and other pressures on health services and their direct impact on clinicians who work within it, meant 2015 was another challenging year for our members. We recognise that dento-legal issues like complaints and claims contribute to this pressure and we saw a rise in members asking for our help with both in 2015.

'For the DDU's part, we are working hard to ensure members are not disadvantaged by the current climate. While claims have increased over recent years, so has the DDU's success rate in defending cases. In 2015, we only paid compensation in just over 40% of dental claims, successfully defending the remaining almost 60%. This is a good result, given that claimants' solicitors carefully select the cases they believe are more likely to succeed. However, unmeritorious claims still take their toll on members and there is a considerable cost to the DDU in investigating and responding to so many of them.

'Claims and complaints may be common, but it would be wrong to conclude that this represents a deterioration in standards of care. The climate in which dental professionals work can often seem difficult, but professional standards are very high and our members continue to provide excellent care to the communities they serve.

'Supporting dental professionals with dento-legal challenges is the reason the DDU exists. As a mutual, not for profit organisation our funds, time and efforts are wholly directed to guiding, supporting and defending our members.

'This matters to dental professionals because they need to know that they get the best defence and the organisation they pay their subscription to has the stability, longevity and expertise to ensure the best outcome for them.

'The DDU's expertise and robust defence of dental professionals remains vital in helping our members throughout these turbulent times.'

This guidance was correct at publication 12/08/2016. 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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