MDDUS report rise in claims against doctors

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Tuesday, 29 October 2013

UK-wide medical defence organisation MDDUS is reporting a sharp rise in claims against members, with patient complaints the most frequent reason for doctors to contact the organisation.

Figures from MDDUS’ Annual Report for 2012 reveal a 35 per cent increase in claims intimated over the year compared to 2011. This included a 42 per cent rise in GP claims while claims against hospital doctors fell slightly.

MDDUS Joint Head of Medical Division Dr Anthea Martin said: “Part of this overall increase can be attributed to our growing membership but, despite this, MDDUS has seen evidence of a rise in the frequency of claims against doctors over the last few years.”

The number of GMC cases also rose, with a 41 per cent increase compared to 2011. “This rise in regulatory cases is consistent with figures reported by the GMC,” adds Dr Martin. “It reflects a number of factors including a greater proportion of registrants now being reported to the regulator by employers or colleagues.”

Over 75 per cent of medical claims settled by MDDUS for members in 2012 closed with no payment being made, while 96.5 per cent of GMC cases (figure from 2011) concluded with no sanctions imposed against MDDUS members.

Last year, the MDDUS medical advisory team handled a record 13,664 member contacts – a 5.2 per cent increase on 2011 and the continuation of a seven-year rise.

“It is best to seek advice early rather than risk problems escalating into formal complaints or legal claims further down the line,” says Dr Martin. “Nowadays, doctors appear risk-aware which may be in part due to publicity surrounding high-profile cases over the past couple of years.”

As for the type of calls MDDUS received in 2012, ‘patient complaints’ was once again the most frequent reason for a doctor to contact our medical advisers and accounted for 21 per cent of all calls.

“Cases of this nature include patients unhappy with a delay in treatment, alleged missed diagnosis, criticism of care provided and complaints by a family member of a deceased patient,” says Dr Martin.

“Doctors are encouraged to contact their medical defence organisation for advice on any issue that is causing them concern or where they are the subject of a complaint or claim.”

Ends

For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0845 270 2034 or 07976 272266, or email rihendry@mddus.com.

Note to editors

MDDUS (The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is a medical and dental defence organisation providing access to professional indemnity and expert medico- and dento-legal advice for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals throughout the UK. For further information on MDDUS go to www.mddus.com.

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