Dentists are now twice as likely to be sued than they were a decade ago, figures from Dental Protection show.
This is despite reports from the Care Quality Commission that dental patients are at a lower risk than those being seen by any other health provider.
‘We know that working in an increasingly litigious environment day in and day out is challenging, and is taking its toll on dentists when they are striving to provide the best possible service and care to their patients,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said.
‘We know that a package of legal reforms to help tackle the rising cost of clinical negligence, and the challenging claims environment for dentists, is long overdue.
‘We are calling on the Government to take urgent action.’
Dental indemnity has jumped by 400% in the last decade, despite earnings falling by almost 35% in real terms, according to the BDA.
It believes that the US-styled ‘ambulance chasers’ are placing an additional strain on health services.
‘Every official report over the past decade shows our patients are receiving low risk, high quality care,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.
‘All that has changed are the hyper aggressive tactics of these ambulance chasers.
‘Dentists are already feeling the squeeze on declining pay and skyrocketing expenses.
‘Our patients do not expect to see funds desperately needed for investment lining the pockets of veracious no-win no-fee lawyers.’
Figures from Dental Protection show:
- 90% of dental members are increasingly fearful of being sued
- 80% of dental members found the fear of being sued has impacted on their confidence in how they deal with patients
- 78% felt the fear of being sued has caused them stress or anxiety
- 68% of dental members felt the fear of being sued has made them consider their future in the profession.