For immediate release: Monday, 11 June 2018
Responding to Professor Sir Norman Williams’ review into gross negligence manslaughter MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said:
“We commend Sir Norman and his team on the speed and thoroughness of the report and thank the panel for allowing MDDUS the opportunity to provide comments and feed into their thoughts. It is important to maintain that urgency and comprehensive approach through the implementation phase.
“Facing an investigation is extremely stressful and it is natural for doctors to fear the worst. We believe that there is compelling evidence of the harm caused by the prospect and process of investigation even though, as the report highlights, actual convictions are vanishingly small with very few investigations leading to sanctions.
“We agree the need for high standards and current relevant clinical experience for expert witnesses and welcome the proposed clarification on not using reflective material for fitness to practise (FtP) investigations unless, of course, the practitioner feels it is relevant. The proposals to ensure greater understanding of the law and more consistency in policy and coronal actions are also welcome.
“We welcome the decision to remove double jeopardy on appeals. Evidence shows that the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has used its powers more selectively and proportionately than the GMC. We also support the opinion that conviction cases should not be decided without the opportunity for a fair hearing.
“Finally, doctors require legal support in FtP hearings as much as the GMC and MPTS need properly defended registrants to help guarantee just outcomes.
“The creation of state-backed indemnity for GPs may jeopardise this pursuit of justice. Therefore, as part of wider reform, the GMC should make clear that doctors need cover for non-claims matters as well as compensation for claims, extending on from their recommendation at paragraph 9.1 in section 15.
“MDDUS supports members through these processes, providing peace of mind and representation from our team of expert medical advisers and lawyers.”
For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0333 0434444 or 07976 272266, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.