Go to content

Vicarious liability: Updated associate agreements

Some practice owners are concerned about the impact of vicarious liability. Issues with vicarious liability are best avoided by good recruitment and clinical audit practices, combined with excellent patient complaint handling.

However, we have made updates to our associate agreements to assist in cases where claims are brought against a practice owner for the actions of an associate, which may give some protection to the practice.

  • Associate contract - England and Wales
  • Associate contract - Northern Ireland
  • Associate contract - Scotland
  • Associate contract - private only within a mixed practice - Scotland
  • Associate contract - private practice
  • Associate ortho contract - England and Wales

There are some safeguards for the associate. But these changes require the associate to indemnify the practice against claims relating to the associate's performance or conduct. These clauses should be helpful if the associate is contactable and has assets that can be used to meet any claims. If an associate is not contactable, they may help by authorising the practice owner to trigger the associate's indemnity insurance on the associate's behalf.

It is difficult for indemnity providers to provide written confirmation that these clauses will be effective. We have had discussions with RSA, who are the insurers for BDA Indemnity. We believe that these clauses are likely to be helpful for our policy holders.

Associates should be aware that they are liable for the work they do and for their conduct. They must ensure they have valid indemnity insurance. They should also cooperate with the practice where complaints are made to resolve those complaints promptly and professionally.

Members should note that BDA Indemnity provides cover for vicarious liability. Members wishing to obtain further information should email [email protected].