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The waiting game

Increased demand from GPs seeking legal support around coronavirus

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is experiencing an exceptionally high number of enquiries from medical professionals in light of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

Nearly half of the MDU members are in general practice and many of the calls are coming from GPs.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, GPs have been asked to change their work circumstances, including how they work or where they work. The MDU reports that the increase in calls focuses on changing work circumstances and retired professionals returning to work.

Dr Michael Devlin, head of professional standards and liaison at MDU told Pulse, GPs are seeking guidance from the MDU about the ethical consequences and the medico-legal implications of remote consultation and new work environments.

The MDU has also been fielding enquiries about what GPs should do if the NHS becomes overwhelmed and they get requests to treat friends and family.  Dr Devlin explained that the GMC guidance covers this situation. He said, ‘It’s something that would not normally be recommended, but in exceptional circumstances, it could be justified.’

As more people become ill from Covid-19 in the UK, Dr Devlin expects the MDU will be taking more calls from GPs working on the edge or slightly outside their area of expertise.

He said: ‘I think this will perhaps become more of an issue as the epidemic expands in the UK, and for example, returners to general practice may well be asked to go work in a hospital setting.

'Again, the GMC recognises in exceptional circumstance you may need to be more flexible, and they will judge doctors accordingly with the context of the situation they are working in.’

Dr Devlin said he was struck by the professional dedication of the MDU members.

He said: ‘What we hear time and time again is that doctors are concerned to do the best for their patients. It’s rarely about their own personal circumstances but mainly about, we’ve got a number of patients, we are just worried about how we are going to see them, and how we are going to provide our usual level of service in those circumstances.’

To help deal with the increasing volume of calls, the MDU has set up a Covid-19 resources page on their website to answer members' enquires more easily.

 

Readers' comments (7)

  • So the GMC- "will judge doctors accordingly with the context of the situation they are working in."
    The facts of life slowly dawning on them I suppose.

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  • So the chap from the MDU says:

    'Again, the GMC recognises in exceptional circumstance you may need to be more flexible, and they will judge doctors accordingly with the context of the situation they are working in.’

    Do you want to run that past me ‘again’? as it doesn’t seem to have validity in most doctors experience.

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  • they didn't judge bawa-gaba in "the context of the situation they are working in". why should we believe any of this ? i suspect in a few months time, when some of us are up before the beak, they will say "it wasn't as bad as that..........public trust.....blah blah blah."

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  • @5:04 Spot on. Very sadly, trust has been completely lost. We believe they “have it in for us” and that’s a very difficult situation to reverse.
    All the more reason, when this is over, to muzzle the drooling sadists at the GMC and CQC.
    But I fear they will be back, fully refreshed and zealous to act “in the best interests of the patient” whilst ignoring how demolishing the medical workforce does precisely the opposite.

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  • did the GMC take the context into account with Dr Garba/ How will this be any different then? eh!

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  • @ importance of being sincere | Locum GP25 Mar 2020 3:24pm

    There’s no evidence that the GMC have ‘reflected’ on the decades of damage they inflicted on the NHS medical profession. At this time, they seem to be playing a waiting game and intend returning to their usual oppressive ‘self satisfied’ regime. The only sensible advice to medics in the UK continues to be RLE or not get involved in the first place?
    (there’s the dizzy ‘forlorn hope’ that SARs2 will clear-out the ‘petty bureaucrats’ but no point waiting for that)?

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  • No doctors trust the GMC.

    They freely admit that they're not here to back us up but to back patients up - Medical Defence Organisations are here to back us up.

    As for "...judge doctors accordingly with the context of the situation they are working in.’" what a load of baloney - like they did for poor Dr Bawa-Garba, whom they hung, drew & quartered.

    Dream on.

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