In a recent unreported case (Ramdhean -v- Agedo (1) The Forum Dental Practice Limited (2) ), the Court held, at first instance, that a dental practice:
- owes a duty of care to an NHS patient (which may not be delegated or outsourced); and
- is liable for an associate dentist’s negligence in giving treatment to that patient.
Set against a generally accepted understanding and practice that dental associates have self-employed status and their own professional indemnity insurance, the judgement may come as a surprise to many within the profession.
Although the extent of liability has yet to be resolved, it is clear that the Courts are prepared to impose non-delegable duties of care and vicarious liability on a dental practice in respect of treatment given at the practice by associate dentists, which may well have significant and wide-ranging effects for the dental profession generally and, in particular, dental practices and their owners.
Nick Mayles is a highly experienced transactional corporate and commercial lawyer, and partner, at Thompson Smith and Puxon.