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Independents' Day

Calls from doctors to MDU advisers up 13 per cent

The MDU said today that calls to its advisory helpline leapt by 13% last year, as the medico-legal climate facing GPs becomes more challenging.

During 2006, the MDU's advisers answered 25,400 calls on its helpline, compared to 22,400 in 2005.

The organisation, which represents over half of UK doctors, predicts there will be a bigger workload to come as controversial proposals to bring in the civil standard of proof in GMC fitness to practice (FTP) cases are put into practice. The proposals mean cases will be decided on the balance of probabilities rather than the principle of beyond all reasonable doubt.

In the MDU annual report for 2006, published today, chief exective, Dr Michael Saunders, said: 'Multiple jeopardy is the modern curse of the medical profession. One of the main concerns medico-legally over recent years is the increasing number of investigations and inquiries that doctors can face into a single incident.

'It is not uncommon for us to assist a doctor with an employer's disciplinary investigation, coroner's inquiry, police investigation, GMC complaint and medical negligence claim, all arising from the same facts. These investigations take several months, and even many years to resolve in some cases.'

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