Dentists twice as likely to be sued than a decade ago, new study confirms

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Dentists are twice as likely to be sued today than a decade ago, a new study has confirmed. Research carried out by Dental Protection, the industry’s largest legal advice company, found that 90 percent of dentists are fearful of facing legal action. Almost 70 percent of those surveyed said that the threat of legal action had made them question their future in dentistry.

Indemnity costs for dentists have increased by over 400 percent in the space of a decade and the British Dental Association claims that failing to clamp down on firms that use aggressive tactics to encourage patients to make claims could further increase strain on dentists as well as the profession in general. The BDA called for more to be done to prevent “ambulance chasers” from using forceful techniques to target dentists.

BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, criticised legal firms which are actively chasing claims and encouraging patients to try and claim compensation against dentists. Mr Armstrong said that research consistently pointed to the fact that the vast majority of patients in the UK receive “low risk, high quality care” and commented that nothing had changed except the level of aggression used by legal firms to target and exploit dentists.

Expenses have increased for dentists and their real-term pay has fallen by over 30 percent in a decade and Mr Armstrong claims that there is already a great deal of pressure on dentists without them having to worry about being subjected to overtly aggressive no win, no fee lawyers.

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