Investigations by the Dental Regulator into complaints about the quality of care delivered by dental professionals have increased by more than 500% since 2012
- Investigations into cases related to dental professionals who failed to deliver a good quality of care increased by 505% between 2012 and 2017
- Investigations related to dental professionals failing to obtain the proper consent from patients for treatment rose by 713% between 2012-2017
Using annual figures published by the General Dental Council (GDC), we have discovered that the number of investigations carried out by the GDC into the quality of treatment provided by dental professionals and the absence of patient consent for treatment have risen significantly over recent years.
The GDC is the independent regulator of dentists and other dental professionals working in the UK. Part of their remit is to handle and investigate complaints by patients about their treatment or experiences when they visit the dentist and to assess whether the ‘ability to practice’ of these professionals is impaired. Dental professionals include dentists, clinical dental technicians, dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists. This includes both NHS and private dental practitioners. The GDC usually become involved in a case when the complaint has not initially been satisfactorily resolved between the patient and the dental professional or practice.
The GDC’s annual reports over the period 2012 – 2017 (the latest available) indicate that complaints requiring detailed investigation specifically citing patients either receiving poor quality of care have increased by 505% during this time. Investigations of complaints that dental professionals failed to obtain the proper consent from their patients before delivering treatment also rose in this period, by an astonishing 713%.
We handle hundreds of cases every year where patients of dentists have been unhappy with the treatment or level of care they received, and we’ve seen a 108% rise in the number of dental negligence claims from 2012-2017.
Chris Dean of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “We want to highlight these figures from the GDC because it shows that whilst most dental professionals do a great job and deliver only the highest levels of care, sometimes patients are let down by those they trust with their oral health. We speak to people on a daily basis who have been on the receiving end of dental negligence and it can negatively affect them not only physically and financially, but also psychologically too; sometimes for a lifetime.
“Between 2013 and 2017, we helped our clients across England and Wales to recover over £36 million in damages from negligent dental professionals who had let them down. This compensation helps patients to pay for remedial or restorative work needed as a result of the dental negligence, along with helping them close that chapter of their lives and move on. We think that these figures show that patients shouldn’t have to accept poor treatment and negligent care from dental professionals. By reporting issues when they arise, patients are helping the dental profession and the dental regulator to identify areas within dentistry that need improvement, whether in training or governance, for the long-term benefit of everyone.”
If you have been let down by a dental professional, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact us for free initial legal advice and to discuss your options.
The percentages included are taken from figures provided within General Dental Council (GDC) annual reports from 2012-2017 that can be found here – https://www.gdc-uk.org/about/what-we-do/publications.