Dental professionals turn to DDU for reassurance in record numbers during pandemicNews
Posted by: The Probe 7th August 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has led to record numbers of dental professionals seeking support and advice with dento-legal and membership queries, the Dental Defence Union (DDU) said today.
During the height of the pandemic, the DDU saw a 130% increase in dental professionals visiting its website for advice on areas such as performing remote consultations and returning to practice safely. Meanwhile, the DDU’s membership team dealt with almost 40,000 calls and 46,000 emails from DDU and MDU members between April and July. Many members whose work circumstances had changed, contacted us to adjust their subscription.
The DDU released the figures on the day its parent company, the MDU, published its annual report for 2019. The MDU’s strong financial position was a key factor in allowing a quick and efficient response to members’ changing needs during the pandemic.
John Makin, head of the DDU, commented: “Our annual report looks back on the issues affecting members during 2019, but no one could have anticipated the events that would so dramatically impact all of us in 2020.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, dental professionals have had to adapt quickly to new ways of working while keeping up to date with rapidly changing guidance. Innovations such as the shift to remote consultations and telephone triage have happened virtually overnight and it’s no wonder that DDU members are looking for trusted information and advice from us on the dento-legal implications of this and all the other issues arising from the pandemic.
“Many members work circumstances have changed dramatically since the lockdown and this led to a surge in calls to our membership helpline. Over 1600 members told us about their changing circumstances after the initial lockdown ended, for example.
“We are proud to have maintained our excellent levels of service with our membership team answering over 82% of almost 40,000 calls within 20 seconds between April and July this year. This is important because members’ time is precious and we know they value a quick and accurate response to their queries.
“These are uncertain times and we recognise the immense pressure our members face in caring for patients. Our role is to alleviate some of the strain of clinical practice and this has never been more important than during the current health emergency.”
Other highlights from the annual report for 2019 include:
- The number of dental members increased in 2019 as has happened in nine of the last ten years.
- 65% of dental claims were successfully defended being closed without payment.
- 27,000 calls were made to the dental and medical 24-hour advisory helplines with over 98% during working hours answered within 20 seconds.
- 84% of GDC cases involving DDU members at the case examiner stage were resolved without referral to a practice committee hearing. Of cases going to a practice committee, 82% were resolved with no finding of impairment.
- Hundreds of members made use of the new associate contract checking service within the first six months of its launch.