Part 1 – What your membership provides
Membership of MDDUS provides assistance, advice, representation and access to indemnity for circumstances that arise out of the practice of medicine, dentistry or an allied health profession and that occur during a period of membership of MDDUS. As a mutual organisation, MDDUS always acts in the interests of all its members and offers assistance to its members, provided the need for help arises out of the practice of a health profession. Click here for further information on what is understood by the practice of a health profession.
Your membership provides (subject to the exclusions in Part 2 and the requirements set out in Parts 3 and 4):
- Access to professional advice on the wide range of ethical, medico-legal and risk-related issues that may arise out of your practice of medicine, dentistry or an allied health profession and that occur during the period of your membership of MDDUS.
- Professional assistance, advice, representation and, where necessary, appropriate legal representation in respect of:
– complaints made against you
– disciplinary proceedings taken against you
– coroner's inquests/fatal accident inquiries
– matters referred to the General Medical Council/General Dental Council (GMC/GDC), or other regulatory body.
- Assistance, advice, representation (including legal representation) and access to indemnity for your legal liability to meet claims made against you arising out of your professional practice. This protection relates to circumstances occurring in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man during your membership of MDDUS, regardless of when the claim is actually made or intimated to you although dependent on the level and category of indemnity cover that you have from MDDUS.
- Access to worldwide indemnity in respect of your legal liability to meet claims made against you arising from “Good Samaritan” acts. An explanation of what are Good Samaritan acts is provided in Part 6.
- If you are an employer, access to professional advice on your legal liabilities, duties and obligations as an employer in the ordinary and usual course of your practice of medicine, dentistry or an allied profession. Click here for further details on vicarious liability.
- If you have selected it, the employer support and employer indemnity set out in Part 5.
All the circumstances detailed above must arise out of your practice of medicine, dentistry or an allied health profession and must occur during the period of your membership of MDDUS. There is no limit on the amount paid in respect of any one claim and no excess or deductible is applied that has to be met by you.
Notes: (i) For doctors and dentists employed or contracted to work exclusively in the NHS, and who are indemnified by the NHS for clinical work performed under their contract, additional protection is available. Click here for further details on Category 1 and 2 work. (ii) Those involved with professional football teams or other elite or professional sport should click here for further information. (iii) Those who, at any time prior to 1 April 2019 and while a member of MDDUS, worked in general practice providing services as part of the NHS for England, and who have access to discretionary indemnity for clinical negligence liabilities arising from the provision of such services which is provided by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care under the Existing Liabilities Scheme for General Practice, should click here for further information.
Membership of MDDUS provides advice and protection for matters arising from your professional practice as a doctor, dentist or allied health professional. You are, of course, exposed to a wide range of potential legal and contractual problems. For the sake of clarity, and as examples, the following broad areas are not included within your membership benefits:
- Any liability which is covered by, or would but for anything done or not done by you be covered by, an indemnity provided by the National Health Service or by any health board, hospital trust or other public authority or employer's indemnity arrangements.
- Any liability which could be covered by, or could but for anything done or not done by you, be covered by, the discretionary indemnity provided by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care under the Existing Liabilities Scheme for General Practice. For further information on what areas will be covered by such indemnity, please click here.
- The handling and administering of any claims relating to any liability which could be covered by, or could but for anything done or not done by you be covered by, the discretionary indemnity provided by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care under the Existing Liabilities Scheme for General Practice. For further information please click here.
- Complaints, investigations or tribunal processes (other than those involving the GMC, GDC or other relevant clinical professional regulator), relating to personal conduct that does not arise from the practice of medicine, dentistry or an allied health profession. Click here for further detailed guidance.
- Matters that should be dealt with by public liability, employers’ liability or directors’ liability insurances.
- Employment issues not related to the practice of medicine, dentistry or an allied health profession, including assistance with employment tribunals and disputes over employment contract terms, unless specifically included in the benefits of that membership category.
- Assistance with raising actions for defamation.
- Assistance in the process of undergoing appraisal.
- Assistance with complaints or accusations of bullying and harassment against other persons.
- Matters of a financial nature or relating to business matters, insurance claims and the pursuit of fees for services rendered.
- Representation in respect of criminal proceedings or any legal liability arising from criminal activities or from any trading or personal debts. However, support may be extended to certain criminal proceedings which arise directly from clinical practice and where MDDUS accepts that the member has acted in good faith.
- MDDUS does not reimburse a member’s personal expenses incurred during the management of cases (e.g. travel, locum cover, etc).
- Fines or penalties.
Note: Additional limitations and exclusions from benefits may be found in the Notes on Membership Categories issued to each member on joining or renewal.
Failure to comply with any of the responsibilities below may put at risk your access to all benefits of membership of MDDUS, including indemnity.
- Members must advise MDDUS of any change of address.
- Members are required to ensure that they are in the correct membership category and paying the appropriate subscription associated with the work they undertake.
- Members should notify MDDUS as soon as reasonably possible of any claims or circumstances that might give rise to claims made against them.
- If requiring assistance in relation to complaints to regulatory bodies, members should contact MDDUS as soon as possible if they receive any communication from such a body.
- Members must not take any steps to settle or compromise any claim in respect of which indemnity from MDDUS is or may be sought without the written consent of MDDUS or its legal advisers.
- The benefits of membership, including indemnity, may be withdrawn if a member declines to accept the advice proffered by MDDUS or its legal advisers. Members are required to cooperate fully in every respect with MDDUS and its legal advisers.
- Members must not hold membership with any other medical or dental defence organisation or have insurance where equivalent MDDUS cover is available, unless with MDDUS written agreement.
- Members are required to provide information to MDDUS of a relevant professional nature if requested to do so by MDDUS.
- Members who have Practice or Corporate Scheme Membership with MDDUS should note that it is their responsibility to ensure that membership is being adequately maintained by the person responsible within the practice or organisation for the administration of the scheme, such as the practice manager. Failure to maintain adequate and appropriate cover, for example failing to inform MDDUS of a return to work following maternity or paternity leave, cannot normally be rectified retrospectively.
All doctors and dentists who wish to become or remain members of MDDUS must be registered with the GMC, GDC or, if necessary, both. In addition, members must also hold a licence to practise where appropriate, other than when their professional role does not require a licence to practice to be held and MDDUS has been informed and has agreed. Similarly, members of allied health professions must be registered with the appropriate registration body.
An application for membership cannot be submitted more than 60 days before the date from which membership is to commence.
MDDUS will not ordinarily permit an applicant to backdate membership prior to the date on which the first request to join is made.
Cover on joining
Most membership applications are successful but applicants should be aware that some may be declined because they fail to meet the approval criteria. Click here for notes on completing MDDUS application forms. Protection can ordinarily only be provided from the date of acceptance into membership.
MDDUS reserves the right to decline applications for membership on the basis of previous claims, complaints, disciplinary action, GMC/GDC action or for any other reason. If MDDUS discovers or decides any response in an application for membership which MDDUS considers to be material is inaccurate in any respect, MDDUS may, at its absolute discretion, declare that membership, and therefore access to indemnity, to be void from the outset and to have no effect.
Deferral of membership benefits
Under certain circumstances, for example sickness or maternity/paternity leave, members may apply to have their membership benefits and thus payment of subscriptions deferred. Members should be clear that in seeking to reinstate those benefits, the normal application and underwriting process will apply. Click here for full details.
Private or independent practice earnings
Members who work as private or independent consultants are usually expected to hold or have recently held a substantive NHS consultant post in the same specialty. MDDUS reserves the right at any time to require evidence (including by periodic audit) relating to private independent practice or earnings so as to determine or verify individual subscription rates.
Falsifying or failing to provide full details may affect the benefits of membership or result in the withdrawal of any indemnity or of the services provided by MDDUS.
MDDUS specialises in the separate legal jurisdictions that exist within Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and does not offer indemnity outside of these jurisdictions, save in respect of Good Samaritan acts as outlined in Part 1.4 above or as otherwise agreed. If a member working in a training grade post plans to go abroad to work and eventually return to the UK, he or she can remain with MDDUS free of charge as an overseas associate for up to two years but without any of the benefits of membership.
An annual subscription renewal notice is normally sent out by MDDUS 28 days before the subscription is due and states the renewal date and amount due. In order to provide continuous cover, a subscription should be paid promptly. If no payment is received, or other method of payment established, after two reminders and a final notice, membership will be terminated on the renewal date. All persons or bodies whose membership has so lapsed are subject to the completion of a new application form that will be the subject of MDDUS’s normal approval and underwriting process.
If a member is involved in more than one specialty, the specialty with the highest risk band should be selected.
Membership of MDDUS is on an annual subscription basis and is normally only terminated with effect from the end of your membership year. No refund of subscription will be payable and no rebate of subscription is available should you cease to be a member of MDDUS before the end of your membership year, other than for the reasons set out in the rest of this part of the Membership Agreement. Any refunds available to members when their circumstances change as set out below are calculated on a daily basis and made pro rata subject to restriction in some circumstances. Unless a refund or rebate of subscription is available, the full annual membership subscription is payable for a subscription year notwithstanding that membership is terminated after the start of, but before the end of, that subscription year.
Refunds will be issued to members on maternity/ paternity leave for unused portions of the membership year, and up to three months retrospectively, if MDDUS is notified of the maternity/paternity leave after its commencement. The benefits of worldwide Good Samaritan cover continue whilst on maternity/paternity leave. This benefit is available after one full year of active membership with MDDUS.
Refunds will be issued to members on extended sick leave for unused portions of membership, and up to three months retrospectively if MDDUS is notified of the sick leave after its commencement. The benefits of worldwide Good Samaritan cover continue whilst on sick leave. This benefit is available after one full year of active membership with MDDUS.
Change of membership category
If any change of active membership takes place in a member’s practice, a refund of up to one year’s subscription may be available. If the change is a reduction in earnings, proof of earnings must be supplied to MDDUS upon request to the satisfaction of MDDUS to validate the refund.
Removal from membership
Any member removed from membership by MDDUS will be entitled to a refund of any unused subscription from the date of termination of membership. This also applies when membership of MDDUS is terminated upon the withdrawal of the member’s GMC/GDC or other professional registration, or requisite licence to practise.
A refund of any unused subscription, from the date of death of a member, will be issued on receipt by MDDUS of written notification from the personal representatives of the deceased member. If a claim arising from an incident during a deceased member’s membership is intimated to that member’s personal representatives, MDDUS will provide access to indemnity in respect of that claim to the member’s personal representatives to the same extent as if the member was still alive.
MDDUS provides assistance, advice and representation (together “employer support”) and, when selected, access to indemnity (“employer indemnity”) to members of MDDUS and relevant partnerships (as defined) who are employers, on terms and conditions which are set out in full on the MDDUS website. Click here for full details.
This Membership Agreement may be altered, amended or replaced at the sole discretion of MDDUS. Any alteration, amendment or replacement of this Membership Agreement will be posted on the MDDUS website (www.mddus.com) and shall be effective from the date specified or, if no effective date is specified, from the thirtieth day after the posting.
The Articles of Association and discretionary basis of membership benefits
MDDUS is not an insurance company. All benefits of membership of MDDUS are discretionary as set out in the Articles of Association. MDDUS is incorporated under the Companies Act as a company limited by guarantee. This Membership Agreement should be read subject to the Articles of Association of MDDUS. MDDUS has in terms of its Articles of Association two categories of member, namely voting members and associate members. The rights of each of these groups are set out in the Articles of Association to which members are referred for their full scope and effect.
MDDUS staff are required to treat all members of MDDUS fairly and to display politeness, tolerance and respect at all times. As an employer MDDUS has a similar duty to ensure all MDDUS staff are treated in the same way. No one should be expected to endure offensive, intimidating or aggressive behaviour, and MDDUS will therefore not accept any verbal or written abuse directed towards its staff, and sanctions will be taken, where appropriate, which could result in termination of membership of MDDUS.
Quality of service
MDDUS prides itself in being an organisation that delivers a high quality service to its members. As such MDDUS is always eager to hear whether contacts with and the service to members has been satisfactory or not. In particular MDDUS is interested to hear when service to members has been problematic or has caused a member to think of making a complaint to or about MDDUS, for instance about the way and perhaps the manner in which the member has been dealt with by MDDUS. MDDUS welcomes such comments in the expectation that they will assist in improving MDDUS's service and provide a useful learning mechanism.
Whatever the nature of the complaint, MDDUS will endeavour to acknowledge that complaint within two business days and give an indication as to when the member might expect a full response. All responses will be in writing.
Complaints by a member about MDDUS service will be directed to the department concerned and responded to. MDDUS will seek to acknowledge receipt of a complaint within two working days, and to investigate and respond to the complaint within 20 working days.
MDDUS treats all comments, complimentary or critically, as a valuable source of information to help MDDUS maintain and improve the quality of MDDUS's service.
Making a complaint will not prejudice or affect a member’s right to continuing advice or support.
There is a right of appeal to the Chief Executive Officer in the event of dissatisfaction by the member with any response.
If you feel that you have either a comment or a complaint to make about the service you have received from MDDUS, please contact our Administration Supervisor on 0333 043 4444 or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) quoting your membership number.
Please give as much detail as possible about the matter in order to allow MDDUS to carry out a full investigation. This procedure is exclusively for the use of MDDUS members.
Good Samaritan acts
Good Samaritan acts encompass the provision of medical and dental services in emergency situations, which are outside the scope of an individual’s normal contractual obligations or clinical practice. When members assist in these circumstances, they would not normally be expected to charge for their services. MDDUS offers indemnity against any claims arising out of Good Samaritan acts anywhere in the world which are not covered by any other indemnity or insurance arrangement.
The relationship between members and MDDUS is governed by Scots law and, subject to any arbitration, the Scottish Courts shall have jurisdiction.
Agreed by the Board on 8 February, 2019