Indemnity can be an intimidating subject, and many dental nurses are unsure what's required of them. Our easy guide gives you all the information you need to make sure you're covered.
What is indemnity?
Indemnity insurance is compulsory because it compensates patients if something goes wrong. If a patient makes a claim against you, having indemnity ensures they can be compensated.
Standard 1.8 states: ‘You must have appropriate arrangements in place for patients to seek compensation if they have suffered harm’.
From your perspective, indemnity protects you from financial or personal loss. Without indemnity you could end up being asked to pay compensation, as well as any legal costs.
Do I need to have it?
All GDC registrants must be covered by some form of indemnity in order to practise. Recent cases have made it clear that dental professionals practising without any indemnity arrangements may find themselves barred from work.
What's the best way to get covered?
You can purchase an indemnity plan yourself, but the most affordable way is often to be included in your dentist's plan.
Like all GDC registrants, dentists are required to have indemnity. Unlike DCPs, however, they are able to include their team in their arrangements.
This means that any complaint made about a team member will be covered by the dentist's indemnity, and individual members don't have to purchase their own plan.
However, it's your responsibility to make sure you're covered. Not all dentists will include their team in their plan, and you can never assume they have.
If you discover you aren't actually covered, it will be you who has to face the GDC, not your dentist.
This means that being told you are covered isn't enough. You must get a written certificate from your dentist, confirming you're included in their plan, or you could find yourself in hot water later on.
You're also responsible for checking if there are any exceptions. Does their indemnity allow you to perform extended duties? What about if you're working with another dentist or a locum on the day an incident occurs? Will you still be covered?
Standard 7.2.1 states: ‘You must only carry out a task or type of treatment if you are appropriately trained, competent and indemnified’.
Nurses treating patients directly must make sure they are covered. Are you taking impressions? Are you applying fluoride?
Remember: even if you think you're covered by your dentist's plan, you must ensure you have written confirmation that you are. Verbal confirmation is not enough. Indemnity protection is nobody's responsibility but your own, and you have to ensure that the cover being offered by your dentist is adequate.