The Dental Defence Union (DDU) has appointed a solicitor specialising in regulatory and criminal legal proceedings as its new head of legal services. Nick Tennant has been promoted to the role after 15 years working as a solicitor in the defence organisation’s in-house legal team. He oversees the work of an expert team of 24 solicitors, three paralegals and support staff.
The DDU’s in-house legal department supports dentists and other healthcare professionals facing negligence claims, GDC investigations, criminal investigations and inquests. The team has gone from strength to strength since it was first established thirty years ago.
Nick takes over from Joanne Bateman, who has recently retired after more than seven years in the job. Nick commented, “It is a great honour to be taking over from Jo who has overseen a very successful period for our team.
“We work closely with the DDU’s dentolegal advisers to secure the best outcomes for our members and understand that, at this time of heightened pressure in healthcare, our members are under incredible strain when they come to us for support.
“The results we achieve in supporting members with GDC investigations are a great example of the uncompromising defence we provide. In 2022, our in-house team resolved almost 80 per cent of cases without referral to a Practice Committee, where we represented members at the case examiner stage. Of those that proceeded to a Practice Committee, there was no finding of impairment against our members in 50 per cent of cases. This represents a much better outcome for our members when compared to the most recent figures for cases overall from the GDC.
“I am really looking forward to building on the strengths of such a high-performing team which continues to help members navigate the difficult dentolegal environment.”
John Makin, head of the DDU said, “We know from our own research that more than eight in ten dental professionals say workplace pressures have increased over the last year. The latest NHS staff survey results also show high levels of burnout with staff feeling stressed and demoralised. If you then throw a dentolegal investigation into the mix, it can be truly devastating for dental professionals. That’s why the work of our in-house legal team is so crucial at supporting members and ensuring they get a fair hearing.
“I am confident that Nick and the team will continue to successfully guide, support and defend members with the myriad of dentolegal investigations encountered during their careers.”