North west comes top for dental negligence claims

The North West has been revealed as the top region for successful dental negligence claims in England and WalesThe north west has been revealed as the top region for successful dental negligence claims in England and Wales.

According to new research, 325 negligence claims were settled there between 2018 and 2020 – the highest figure across the country.

This is followed by the south east, with 165 claims, and Yorkshire and The Humber with 118.

Figures for other regions include:

  • West Midlands – 117 claims
  • East of England – 116 claims
  • South west – 108 claims
  • East Midlands – 77 claims
  • London – 63 claims
  • Wales – 44 claims
  • North east – 42 claims.

Difficult to pinpoint

Some of the most common dental-related negligence claims were:

  • If a dentist misdiagnoses or misses a dental condition and, as a consequence, results in the issue worsening or the requirement of avoidable further treatment
  • Failure to obtain patient consent and understanding of a treatment before carrying it out
  • Injuries or trauma to teeth, gums, jaw, face etc.

Chris Dean is director at the Dental Law Partnership, which carried out the research. He said: ‘It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why patients are more likely to make a claim against their dentist in certain regions.

‘One reason could be that there are more individual dentists consistently providing poor treatment in these areas.’

New ways of working

This comes as research shows the majority of patients were understanding about new ways of working in dental practices.

The data suggests 95% of dentists report patients being sympathetic towards changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, 60% still feel concerns over the possibility of complaints, claims or GDC investigations in relation to the virus.

In addition, many believe the new working ways in practices will stay in place following the pandemic. For example, more than half (55%) believed remote consultations will remain after the end of the pandemic.

And 59% also reported that it was easy to stay up-to-date with dental-related regulation.

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