DDU introduces peer support service to aid emotionally drained workforce


  Posted by: Dental Design      10th August 2023

Dental professionals involved in stressful General Dental Council (GDC) investigations are being offered a new peer support service from the Dental Defence Union (DDU).

Launched in 2020 to help medical professionals undergoing GMC investigations, the service has now been expanded to include DDU members. The peer support programme connects members with a reassuring colleague who has been through a similar experience.

The DDU made the announcement to coincide with its parent company, the Medical Defence Union (MDU), publishing its latest annual report for 2022. Dr Matthew Lee, MDU chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be able to extend the peer support programme to our dental professional members. The programme connects members who are struggling with a GDC investigation with a colleague who has been through a similar process. These colleagues offer personal support, guidance and reassurance.

“Members have told us time and again that dealing with incidents can impact both their professional and personal lives. Having a conversation with a colleague who has been through something similar and come out of the other side, can be a huge comfort.”

Dr Tom Norfolk MDU vice president, said: “The peer support service is an important part of the wellbeing services we offer to members. Undergoing a GDC investigation is one of the most stressful experiences a dental professional can face, and talking to a colleague who has been through a similar experience can really help.

“As well as the peer support programme, our dedicated team of dento-legal and medico-legal advisers took over 21,000 calls on our advice lines in 2022.

“As a mutual, defence organisation we are owned and led by healthcare professionals who know what it’s like to be on the frontline of patient care. At a time of such pressure, members’ interests are at the heart of everything we do. The steady growth in members we have seen in 2022 is testament to our strengths.”

Further results highlighted in the MDU’s annual report for 2022 include:

  • 50% of dental member cases at the GDC Practice Committee were concluded with no finding of impairment. The equivalent GDC figure for outcomes overall is 27% (for 2021).
  • During 2022, 66% of dental claims were closed without damages being paid. For medical and dental cases that made it to trial, we had a success rate of 60%.
  • 99% of calls to our dento legal advice lines were answered within 20 seconds.

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