As a not-for-profit mutual organisation, The DDU is owned by its members, rather than shareholders. We exist to represent dental professionals and here are just some of the ways we can support you throughout your professional life.
1. Access to independent and confidential advice
The great thing about dentistry is that your career can take you in any number of unexpected directions, from general practice to specialism and from corporate to community dentistry.
As a young dentist, you will probably encounter situations where you are unsure of your ethical or legal ground so it’s reassuring to know that DDU members can call our free advice line as often as needed.
Our specially trained dentolegal advisers are dentists who offer non-judgemental, confidential advice and support on any dentolegal issues. If you have a query about disclosing information, a complaint or want to check the legal position on tooth bleaching, you can get advice from them on our advice line. In fact, you may already have met some of our team at an event or during one of their regular visits to UK dental schools.
The advice line is available Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, with a 24/7 emergency service for those who need urgent advice and assistance.
2. Online resources and guidance
The DDU website contains a selection of videos, advice articles and case studies to keep you informed about the latest dentolegal and regulatory changes. Our member journal contains in-depth features, interviews, case studies and advice line dilemmas so you can learn from the experiences of other DDU members. See it at www.ddujournal.theddu.com.
3. Help with patient complaints
If you receive your first complaint from a patient, don’t panic. We can support you and advise you on the best way to respond. DDU advisers can review your proposed written response or help draft one for you, to maximise your chances of resolving the complaint.
4. Skilled legal representation
Our in-house legal department has an excellent record in defending our members’ professional reputation. We can provide you with expert advice and legal representation if you face a primary care organisation or employer disciplinary hearing in connection with your clinical practice and attend with you (if permitted under local procedures). We can help with inquiries and investigations by the General Dental Council, NHS Business Services Authority, and the coroner.
5. Indemnity for clinical negligence claims
If you receive a claim, a DDU claims handler can give you expert guidance and, if required, appoint a DDU solicitor.
In 2015, we only paid compensation in just over 40% of dental claims, successfully defending the remaining almost 60%. This is a good result, given that claimants’ solicitors carefully select the cases they believe are more likely to succeed.
If you move on, or when you retire, you can still ask for assistance for incidents that happened while you were a DDU member. We also provide indemnity for Good Samaritan Acts around the world.
6. Advice on dealing with the media
The DDU press office offers a 24-hour service to advise you on what to do if a journalist contacts you. We can also advise you on handling unwanted attention on social media and dealing with online criticism about patient treatment.
7. Free online CPD
Our online law and ethics CPD module uses typical dentolegal dilemmas on confidentiality, consent and capacity to educate and test you on your knowledge of legal and ethical issues. Try it for yourself in the Learn and Develop section of our website.
8. Member discounts
Studying can be expensive so we offer discounts on a wide selection of text books and reference from leading publishers such as Oxford University Press and Elsevier.
9. Discounted subscriptions
We realise it can be difficult to make ends meet during the early days of your career. That’s why the DDU offers discounted membership for the first five years after your graduation.