Number of compensation claims exceeding £100,000 quadruples

Eleven compensation claims against dentists exceeded £100,000 in 2015

The number of claims exceeding £100,000 in compensation and legal costs against dentists has quadrupled, according to the DDU.

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) settled 11 claims that exceeded £100,000 in 2015, compared with only two in 2006.

Over the last decade, the DDU claims it has paid almost £5 million in compensation claims that exceeded £100,000, with the highest amount of £120,000 going to a patient for failure to diagnose and treat periodontal disease leading to tooth loss.

‘We are seeing disturbing rises in the cost of clinical negligence claims and a surge of claims exceeding £100,000 against our dental members,’ John Makin, head of the DDU, said.

‘These payments are no reflection on clinical standards, which remain high, but rather a result of a combination of rising patient expectations and the availability of “no win no fee” arrangements for clinical negligence claims.

‘It is telling that over the last three years, we have paid out more in claimant’s solicitors’ legal costs than in compensation to patients.

‘There have already been legal reforms to make the fees claimant’s lawyers charge in personal injury cases more proportionate to the damages received by the patient and further proposals to cap fees have been announced.

‘Nonetheless, the combination of the increases in the size and number of compensation claims is leading to a toxic mix, in which indemnity is becoming more expensive for individual dental professionals.’

Compensation claims

The NHS claims compensation figures reached £1.1 billion in 2014/15 to patients involved in medical negligence claims.


The DDU lists common allegations made by patients in 2015 as implants or cosmetic treatments that were unsatisfactory, excessive, or where the appearance was not as expected.

Other allegations were about the diagnosis or treatment of periodontal disease.

Comments (3)

Rather than crying into your beer and running away, it might be better to do something more positive about it. Just continually paying out and raising your premiums isn’t helping a great deal.

How many of those £100,000 claims did you successfully defend?

There are many poor souls who don’t even realise that you have changed the basis of your help of members to discretionary and that despite paying £many thousands, they may get little or no help.

WE have to have indemnity cover and yet we may be left on our own if you change your mind at the eleventh hour. How is that allowed?

Oh dear so the new leader of the DDU is recycling a few old favourite homilies so beloved of his predecessor for his first sermon to his flock. Dear dentists, he says, the millions of pounds that the DDU is paying out is not because you are providing poor treatment – quite the opposite your standards of treatment are as high as ever. Here’s a little secret – the common feature of all pay outs by the defence organsiations is poor dental treatment not high quality dental treatment. And all this money is being paid out, he says, because of a toxic cocktail of dizzy patient expectations and ‘no-win-no-fee’ solicitors. Makin seems to think that patients should not habour lofty expectations of satisfactory standards of treatment and certainly should not expect the profession to pay to put its clumsy mistakes right. And as for those ambulance chasers, don’t get him started. If they were not around you could still get away with not bothering to diagnose gum disease and tooth decay. And the solicitors get more money than the patients. He forgot to mention – and I’ll whisper this – so do the DDU’s solicitors. Why is that? Because the DDU think it’s good use of your money to deny indefensible claims and then pay out years later when legal costs exceed patients compensation. Dear DDU members, your indemnity premiums are going to rocket whilst Mr Makin – King Canute of the DDU -is sat on the throne.

The article appeared on LinkedIn. When I was reading it, my thoughts on the matter are perfectly matched by your response. I just could not have said it as well as you did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *