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Victory for Dental Protection thanks to judicial review

Dental Protection, an organisation dedicated to providing support, advice and assistance in all matters that challenge a dentist’s professional integrity, is celebrating a recent ruling by judicial review that should improve the level of professional protection afforded to dentists.

A judgement was made that established that a dentist’s failure to record an examination does not mean that said examination did not take place. Dental Protection has been lobbying for a change such as this to be made for some time.

This comes in the wake of a dentist from Powys who was penalised, unfairly in Dental Protection’s eyes, for making inappropriate claims because no record of an examination had been made. There have been a number of similar cases where an NHS body has withheld or reduced payments by referring to a technicality such as this.

The judgement, by Mr Justice Wyn Williams, concluded that, while “a dentist is obliged to make a full and accurate record of the treatment afforded to a particular patient in the patient record”, a dentist’s failure to document this treatment does not mean they are not entitled to be paid.

From now on, a dentist’s entitlement will depend on whether or not they can establish that they have provided the appropriate units of dental activity. Obviously, the best way of doing this is still to keep accurate records, but this will no longer be the only option for dentists.

Dental Protection pursued a judicial review of this issue rather than appeal through the NHS, as the organisation wanted to bring as much clarity to its members as possible. It is pleased that the ruling went the correct way in order to better protect dentists.

Kevin Lewis, Dental Protection’s dental director, said: “Dental Protection has a long history of fighting important points to ensure the fair treatment of members. The result can sometimes have significant benefits for the wider profession and so it is good to have an opportunity once again to remind the profession that we do a whole lot more than simply settling clinical negligence claims.”

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