Britain’s Health Minister Rosie Winterton has announced that all dentists will soon have to take out full indemnity insurance before they can be registered to practice. The goal of this requirement is to assure that dentists are able to pay compensation if they harm patients.
Winterton told BBC News that the rule will soon be extended to include all health professionals. She also announced a package of measures to beef up the ability of the dental regulator – the General Dental Council (GDC) – to protect patients.
New requirements will include the establishment of a scheme to enable private patients to complain about their care. Particular concern was voiced about charges that were often not agreed in advance, and subsequently soared.
The GDC has also been given powers to extend regulation to other professionals working within dentistry, including dental technicians and nurses. The council’s ‘fitness to practise’ procedures for dealing with misconduct and ill health among dental professionals will also be revamped and new measures to tackle problems of poor performance are to be introduced.
“The new powers will enable us to make significant changes to the way we regulate the dental profession – for the benefit of all UK dental patients and the dental professionals who provide their care,” Hew Mathewson, GDC president told the BBC. “We have been preparing for these improvements for several years and are delighted now to have the legislation to implement them.”
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