The Dental Law Partnership add voice to cosmetic surgery review
With the dramatic increase in the provision of cosmetic dentistry in the UK experts from the Bridge the Gap (BTG) campaign have submitted recommendations about cosmetic dental treatment to the Government’s current review of regulation of cosmetic intervention.
The review is taking place in light of serious public concerns following problems with PiP breast implants.
The BTG submission has called for three things:
• adequate indemnity, legally enforced for all dental professionals in the UK providing cosmetic dentistry
• a duty on those providing indemnity or insurance to co-operate in the event of a claim regarding cosmetic dental treatment
• and full disclosure of information relating to dentists’ insurance for those patients embarking on cosmetic dental treatment UK-wide
Chris Dean, a solicitor and dentist and Managing Director of leading dental negligence firm Dental Law Partnership Solicitors, responded to specific questions relating to whether providers should be required to take out indemnity, what could be done to protect patients if their dentist goes out of business, and what information people need to make an informed decision about cosmetic dental care.
“It all points to the same key issues we have been campaigning on all year,” said Chris.
“We brought to the DOH’s attention, again, that it is currently possible in this country to be treated by an uninsured dentist, or, in the event of a claim, to be fobbed off by an unco-operative dental insurer who knows that the dentist is insured but won’t acknowledge it, and that dental patients are in the dark about it all.”
He continued: “We regularly encounter dental patients with perfectly good claims which cannot proceed because the dentists have no assets or no cover – a situation the General Dental Council allows to happen. We also find that even if there is insurance in place, sometimes the dentist either refuses to instruct his insurer – which is allowed, or leaves the country.”
A combination of a legal duty to have indemnity at the point of annual registration with the GDC plus a compulsory duty to co-operate on professional liability insurers and publication of this information would, say BTG campaigners, make the difference.
Chris Dean again: “This review into cosmetic interventions also asked the question about whether the dental sector should be subject to a bond – like ABTA is for the travel industry. In our view while a collective responsibility would be welcome it would surely only increase cost of insurance to the providers like dentists and therefore costs for the public.
“The simple steps we are calling for, a legal framework which put patients first, would provide all the benefits of a bond arrangement without the expense.”
The Review is being led by the NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, and is looking at whether the right amount of regulation is in place, if people have the right information before going through with surgery and how to make sure patients get the right aftercare.