New Rules for NHS Dental Practices

You may have seen the news on 4 February 2022 of the Court of Appeal ruling regarding duty of care for dental patients, in which practice owners that provide a dentistry service via associate dentists can now be held responsible for liability accusations.

Dental practice owners have non-delegable duty to patients

The new ruling follows a High Court judgment in the Hughes vs Rattan case. The judge found dental practice owner, Dr Rattan, had a non-delegable duty to patients who attended his practice and that he was also vicariously liable for the negligent actions of self-employed dentists who treated patients within his practice despite not ever treating them himself.

Dental malpractice claims against surgeries as well as practitioners

Simply put, patients who wish to claim against any dental malpractice occurrences can now claim against the surgery, rather than just the dental practitioner who was responsible for the treatment. This new ruling has been seen as a step in the right direction as many individual dentists will now have a certain type of safety blanket under their employer’s insurance, if they find that their own policy is inadequate or will not pay out.

The change will also be seen as further support and peace of mind for injured parties who may have previously claimed against a dentist as an individual, only to find out their dentist has the incorrect insurance, is unavailable for discussions and is unwelcoming to finalising the claim.

This ruling means that those who may have fallen foul of dental malpractice, could now make a claim against a dental surgery, rather than the practitioner who carried out the treatment.

Protect your business with dental practice insurance

As a business owner, make sure you understand the importance of the changes and ensure that your dental surgery insurance is suitable and provides effective cover for negligent acts and omissions of your current and any past dental associates.

It is essential that if you work with self-employed practitioners, you continue to review their contractual agreements and check that they have appropriate contractual protection in the event of a claim being made. It is vital you review your cover to guarantee you have entity protection for yourself and your business.

Dental surgery insurance from Towergate

To find out how we could assist you with your insurance arrangements and review your current policy, please see our dental practice insurance webpage, call 01438 739839 or email newmedicalindemnity@towergate.co.uk.