Liddy’s Lambast Loophole in the Law

Published: 3rd May 2013

Liddy’s Solicitors is backing the Bridge the Gap campaign, which has been launched to raise awareness of current loopholes in the law, which put dental patients at risk.

The campaign states that at the moment there is no legal requirement in the UK for a dentist to have professional liability insurance to cover his patients if something goes wrong with the dental treatment which he provides. So a dentist can register with the General Dental Council to practise dentistry in the UK, but he does not have to demonstrate that he has made adequate insurance provision.

This means that some dentists practise in this country uninsured, and the problems only come to light when it is too late – after members of the public have been harmed and there is no-one, and no insurance, to pick up the tab.

In addition, when a dentist harms a patient, even if that dentist has paid for the right insurance cover, it is left up to the dentist to co-operate with the insurer in order to get compensation for the injured patient. If the dentist decides not to co-operate with his insurer, then the insurers often choose not to help the patient directly.

This is a ludicrous lacuna in the law. Lawyers are heavily regulated (probably more than any other profession) yet the worst we can do if we make an error is deprive a client of money. But we HAVE to take out professional indemnity insurance just in case that happens, and it is very expensive.

Dentists, on the other hand, have no such requirement yet they can kill or seriously injure a client if they mess up! If you read the recent story of Gemma Stowers you’ll see what some dentists do when they are negligent and are pursued for compensation – they make themselves bankrupt very often, meaning no redress for the victim.”

To help change the law to ensure access to justice for dental patients sign the Bridge the Gap petition here.