Our Aim: Complete Professional Defence
The Doctors and Dentists Protection Union (DDPU) model is aimed at providing seamless, holistic and complete professional legal defence in UK. We have a dedicated team of medics and lawyers working closely together, the team’s expertise is comprehensive, spanning across training, employment, contractual and regulatory issues.We, at the DDPU, recognise that in addition to robust defence a practitioner facing professional difficulty needs wider support. Such practitioners find themselves professionally isolated and frequently confronted with health, personal, social and financial issues. While we cannot provide an all encompassing support in all these areas, we do recognise the importance of wider support for them and do endeavor to support them in these areas.The unpleasantness and stress of a disciplinary investigation is well known and well recognised. At the DDPU we firmly believe in prevention; our members are encouraged to engage in preventative CPD and seek our assistance at the earliest, so that any issues may be nipped in the bud.
For this reason we believe that our approach and services are comprehensive and unique.
How the others compare with us
While the other legal defence organisations in UK have traditionally supported all cases going before the GMC or GDC, in recent times, some have started declining support even in those; one of the major organisations is now declining support in all those cases where in their judgement the matter had arisen from “personal conduct” (clearly the GMC/GDC does not think so!).
In the cases that have not yet gone before the GMC or GDC, the support from the others may even be more patchy. None of the major legal defence organisations in UK defends employment rights, none support in cases of discrimination or unfair dismissal, none lend support in employers internal disciplinary where the allegations are non-clinical (some will decline support even in a clinical matters if they judge the allegation to have arisen from personal conduct) and none provide support in training matters. Because of the ‘pick and choose’ approach their members are left abandoned when they are most vulnerable; increasingly the employers are exploiting this by rehashing allegations in ways that can be labelled as personal misconduct, knowing that the defence organisations will pull out and leave the practitioners at their mercy. Often the trainers behave with impunity because they know that the defence organisations do not provide support in training matters.In employment and training matters, the defence organisations members are abandoned in the hands of Trade Unions. While the Trade Unions are good in providing advice and support in relation to entitlements and benefits in employment, expenses, pay scales, leave arrangements, career progression, ethical advice etc, they are not geared up to providing robust defence. Unlike the defence organisations in UK, they rarely engage lawyers, relying instead on non-clinical and non-legal personnel. The standard of defence provided by the others in employment and training issues is therefore seriously deficient.The major defence organisations do not pursue employment rights. This is abandoned in the hands of the Trade Unions but they also rarely take forward cases of discrimination, almost never seek High Court injunction against employers and when they do take cases to employment tribunals, it is usually for matters other than discrimination and in such cases the representation is often by non-lawyers. As most of the GMC cases that end up progressing to Fitness to Practise hearings start from employment, it is obvious why the defence organisations should take disputes arising from employment seriously rather than casually, as is done at present.
The gaps in the defence available from traditional sources is potentially very serious and can leave practitioners seriously vulnerable at a time when they are in greatest need of support. It is for this reason that DDPU provides seamless defence and does not give any less importance to non-GMC/GDC matters.