I want to treat a patient face-to-face. Will BDA Indemnity cover me?
In the last eight weeks of the pandemic of strictly limited dental activity BDA Indemnity policyholders have been increasingly concerned about the extent of their cover for a range of work either in the practice providing telephone triage or at urgent dental centres treating patients in pain.
During this time we have spoken to members who had specific patients for whom they wished to provide urgent care as they had not been able to access this through urgent dental care centres.
We advised them to do a risk assessment. If they felt, having gone through that risk assessment that managing that patient face-to-face with interventive dental treatment was in the patient's best interest, then they could be assured of cover under the policy.
Good clinical records are required and the template has been made available to all BDA Indemnity members. This advice has been consistent to all policyholders throughout this time whether they were working under NHS or private contractual arrangements.
Policyholders who work under private contractual arrangements have requested reassurance about the extent of their cover at a time that there are perceived and actual restrictions on the extent of treatment allowed by NHS contractual arrangements in the four devolved nations.
Dental services is defined deliberately widely in the BDA Indemnity policy. If a policyholder is providing dental services to patients they can be assured of cover.
In the event of a challenge from a patient, regulator or any other body, the quality and success of a policyholder's defence will always be determined by the factual matrix of what happened at the particular incident time, what the allegations are and what the dentist did or did not do at the time or afterwards, and the contemporaneous clinical records. It will also depend on the prevailing context of the guidance, laws and directives that were in force at the time.
You can be assured that under your contractual insurance cover we are not able to exercise our discretion not to cover you. You can therefore confidently look to us to be by your side through these challenging times as you provide dental services in the coming weeks and months whether under NHS or private contractual arrangements.
I have been told I will be working as a dentist much less than my normal four days. How do I calculate how much this will cost?
We recommend you reduce your hours to the minimum which is 400 hours – the equivalent of one day per week. Please put this request in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line enter your GDC number and title it “Mid Year Adjustment”. We will be in touch as soon as possible.
We would, by default keep your policy at the lowest level for three months unless we hear from you. You can of course (and must) amend it if your hours increase before the three month period ends. It is important you maintain your indemnity to ensure cover in the event of a complaint, claim, GDC enquiry or the wide range of cover provided by your unique BDA Indemnity policy.
I am not working at all, even on the emergency clinics set up. Should I just cancel my BDA Indemnity and then reapply later?
We understand the financial pressures many dentists are facing at this difficult time. We have advised policyholders to reduce the payments to the lowest rate which is 400 hours (the equivalent of one day a week) for the next three months. As this is an occurrence-based policy, any claims that are notified to you after you stopped working but relate to when you are working will be covered. Keeping your policy active means that you will have cover for any GDC investigations for example which could relate to your personal or professional conduct. Maintaining your policy means there will be no delay in you returning straight back to work when the situation changes.
If however, having carefully considered all these important factors you still wish to cancel your policy, you may do this by giving us 30 days’ notice in an email addressed to email@example.com.
I don’t know how long I will be working for. How much notice do I need to make a change in my hours?
Once you know how you have your work arrangement set up please contact us as above in point 1.
I am not going to be placing any implants as they are an aerosol generating procedure. Can I stop my implant cover till the guidance with regards to COVID-19 changes?
If you are still managing patients with implants for example restoring, refitting/re-cementing abutments even under emergency/urgent arrangements in the practice, you will need to remain in the implant category.
My practice is closed and I will not be working as a dentist for the foreseeable future. Should I just stop my policy ?
We would advise you keep your cover running (especially for any possible regulatory investigations) and reduce your cover to the minimum 400 hours per year. This ensures that in addition to any enquiry from the GDC, CQC or other regulator you will also have cover for HMRC and other areas of your professional life which are listed as part of our cover features. You will need to contact us as soon as possible when you return to your normal working hours. It’s likely that dentists will be asked to redeploy into the wider NHS workforce.
The practice has laid off all employed staff and I am working in another clinical capacity as a nurse and hygienist. Should I stop my policy?
As a registered dentist doing clinical work within your scope of practice you are legally required to have professional indemnity. Stopping your policy means that if any complaint or investigation arising from something that happens after you stopped the policy you would not be covered for legal assistance and advice including GDC investigations.
The practice circumstances are changing all the time. How many changes can I make to my policy?
Once you know for sure what the weekly arrangements are going to be, let us know. You can make three adjustments during the policy year including a change back to your original policy when things go back to normal.
I have stopped doing aerosol generating procedures (AGPs). Can I reduce my insurance premiums?
The policy covers dentistry in its widest definition and the cost is not based on the provision of particular treatments except for implants. A complaint or claim can arise from a wide variety of situations ranging from examinations and advice to complex restorative care. AGPs have been restricted but may still be used in particular circumstances in defined situations.