Laura Blundell explains why indemnity needs to cover more than just malpractice.
GDC investigations come in many forms. Most relate to clinical practice; how a registrant’s physical and mental condition can affect their ability to do their job, failures in patient care, discrimination against patients, breaches in patient confidentiality and poor record-keeping, to name a few.
I think it’s fair to say that, often, a dental professional’s primary concern when considering indemnity is whether the policy will effectively assist them if a concern is raised about treatment provided. Lesser considered are cases that do not relate to allegations of medical malpractice.
At Densura, we often see clients approaching us for assistance with non-clinical incidents, notably concerns raised by the GDC. We would expect any good indemnity policy to provide this support but, when applying for indemnity, it is important to consider what sort of cover the policy can offer and the calibre of advice available.
We know that the GDC investigates performance and professional misconduct.
The GDC can also make investigations into criminal conduct which is not related to a clinician’s clinical practice, and can even look at convictions that took place when the clinician was not registered with the GDC.
Examples of non-clinical incidents that the GDC can investigate are driving offences, dishonesty, theft, fraud, abuse and the misuse of drugs.
Of course, these examples can also be investigated by the police.
In the event of criminal investigations and convictions, a referral should be made by the registrant to the GDC.
The police can notify the GDC of any criminal investigation that they are undertaking and, likewise, the GDC can choose to inform the police of any criminal
Any concern raised by the GDC can be stressful, notably because the outcome of any investigation can have an impact on registration with the GDC and a dental professional’s livelihood.
It is so important that clinicians have robust legal representation available via their indemnity company and that they seek advice at the earliest possible stage.
Densura provides cover for all investigations made by the GDC, including those unrelated to clinical activity.
At Densura, upon initial notification of any sort, clients have access to a team of legally-qualified dentolegal advisers who are all practising dentists and therefore fully understand the stress and pressure that clinicians feel when under scrutiny from their regulatory body.
Our insurers have access to a panel of leading specialist law firms and barristers’ chambers to represent practitioners in the event of a formal hearing.
Remember that when making enquiries about indemnity, the policy chosen needs to provide cover for more than just malpractice.
The GDC has a duty to investigate allegations regardless of their basis.
While it is easy to think ‘that will never happen to me’, you never know what is just around the corner.
Ensure that you will be protected in any event.