National Doctors' Day 2021 - Dr Susan Gibson-Smith, Deputy Head of Medical Division

On National Doctors' Day (30 March 2021), MDDUS Deputy Head of Medical, Dr Susan Gibson-Smith reflects on the difference an expression of gratitude can make to doctors' morale, what it means to take up her post at an important time in healthcare, and her own appreciation for the work of MDDUS members.

National Doctors’ Day is important as it gives everyone an opportunity to recognise the contributions that doctors make in the community and to individual lives.

On a personal level, I am extremely grateful to the doctors who have cared for my close family members over the last year in what has been a very challenging a difficult year for all.

On a professional level, I am acutely aware of the difference a ‘thank you’ or an expression of gratitude can make to the morale of a doctor.

This is especially important now more than ever, as the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the morale of doctors. Our recent survey of our members showed that this is a worrying time for them. It’s clear that they are suffering under the strain of not only caring for patients but also dealing with the anxiety that working differently brings. In many cases, they are also fearful for their own personal safety and that of their families.

The team of advisors at MDDUS have all been working from home since March 2020 and have been very aware of the changing needs for support of our members as the waves of the pandemic rolled on. In the initial lockdown, we spent a lot of time with doctors advising them on the rapidly changing guidance and very quickly set up the Coronavirus Hub on our website as a point of reference for the profession. Although not on the front line, we were committed to making it easier for doctors to access the information they needed to do their job as well as they could, and I am extremely proud of what the team achieved.

A key point in the early stages was the decision that MDDUS took to provide indemnity cover free of charge to members who wanted to come out of retirement and assist their colleagues at a time of unprecedented need. In addition, the pragmatic approach that MDDUS has taken to the provision of indemnity for professionals undertaking the vaccination programme is evidence of just how responsive we are to our members’ needs.

As we come out of the pandemic, this is a pivotal time for healthcare. Regulators and the UK’s prosecuting authorities have responded to calls from MDDUS to commit to ensuring fairness for doctors facing complaints.

It is a challenging time to take up the role of Deputy Head of the Medical Division, however I am excited to be working with the Head of the Division, Dr Naeem Nazem, and together we will steer our team through the inevitable time of change that is about to come.

MDDUS have been providing advice, support and protection to our members for almost 120 years. As we move through the vaccination stage of the pandemic to the rebuild and reflection stage, our medico-legal team of experienced advisors and expert lawyers will continue to provide the personal and responsive service for which our members have known and trusted us.

On this National Doctors' Day 2021, I would like our members to know that you are valued and appreciated for the work that you do and the personal sacrifices that you make day-in and day-out to provide medical care to patients across the UK, and for your leadership to the profession.

MDDUS are here to guide support and protect you whenever you need us.

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