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Independents' Day

Cost of GP negligence cases 'increasing by 10% a year'

The compensation giving to patients from GP negligence claims are increasing by 10% a year due to changes that make it easier to take legal action, a medical defence organisation has claimed.

In evidence presented to the Commons health committee inquiry into primary care, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said that changes to ‘no win no fee’ arrangements in April 2013 led to a 20% increase in claims funded by these arrangements the following year.

It said that the cost of investigating and responding to the increasing number of claims, was being shouldered by its members through their subscriptions.

The body has called for the Government to introduce reforms to the way that compensation is awarded, saying that the current system was unsuitable for GPs and for the NHS more widely.

Dr Michael Devlin, head of professional standards and liaison at the MDU, said: ‘The rise is a result of many factors which GPs can’t influence, yet this is an issue which affects them personally professionally and financially.

‘The great majority of claims against GPs are without merit and the number is rising. Unless the Government takes swift action there is no sign that things will improve.’

The MDU’s highest payment on behalf of a GP was £7.5 million following the missed diagnosis of a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Rising indemnity costs have seen insurance brokers start to offer indemnity packages to GPs independently of medical defence organisations.

The GPC said last year that one of the factors driving increasing indemnity costs for GPs was the Government’s 7-day working scheme.







Readers' comments (8)

  • Eventually the Government or the customer will be paying for this one way or another.

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  • But premiums have gone up by 20-100%

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  • There will come a time in this country when it will cost more to be GP than to gain. British GP's will essentially be charity workers.

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  • Most GP;s now pay one month to two months of their drawings just on indemnity, i.e to be able to work. How is this acceptable in any civilised society? Why would anyone want to work in these circumstances? Something needs to be done or no one will be able to afford to work as a GP. 7 Day service...double the cost of indemnity currently being paid. no chance in hell that will happen.

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  • Good to see medical students seeing what is, or is not, ahead of them. They need to have a voice too as it is their future, or not!
    The more groups of doctors and future doctors who get involved, the better. Fight fight fight as it is your life and the government will not care for your health or wellbeing.

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  • Managers do not have the slightest critical ability to select the true malpractice cases from banality or real blackmail to which patients cling. At the top there is the damn institution called GMC which stays on top of the abuses against doctors, and obeys the emission to massacre its members. Being a doctor in the United Kingdom is comparable to play the arrow target game. And, I'm sorry to say it, but the quality of healthcare in England is not like you say it is, believe me. People will soon have what they do not expect: they will soon return to seek treatment from the witches.

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  • I did an exercise last year - I'm 52, I looked at my medical expenses and my disposal income on my current salary. I then compared that with my NHS pension and how much disposal income it would give me. I worked out that essentially, I'm currently working for £6000 a year! It is decreasing by about £2000 per year as I get older and the actuary reduction on my pension decreases. Hence, for every £1000 the indemnity increases means that I can bring forward my retirement by 6 months!! Hooray.

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  • I"m afraid there are some doctors out there who are providing very critical non-evudence based reports for solicitors I assume for their own financial gain. I am being summoned to court for a case where I followed NICE guidance to the letter. The whole situation seems unsustainable if you can be summoned to court for normal everyday general practice and following local and national guidelines. There seems no hope for any of us if the court finds against me.

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