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Defence body reports 42% increase in claims against GPs

There was a 42% rise in the number of claims made against GPs in 2012, despite claims against hospital doctors decreasing, figures from the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland reveal.

The MDDUS’s annual report found that a higher proportion of its membership is contacting the organisation for support, with patient complaints the most frequent reason for contact.

The 42% increase in claims against GPs compares with a small decrease in the number of complaints made against hospital doctors, the annual report said. However, claims against dentists increased even more dramatically, by 53%.

The annual report said some of this increase could be attributed to its GP membership growth of 17% overall, but there was also a trend of increased litigation overall.

The overall trend of increased complaints can also be seen in the increased number of GMC cases in 2012, which was 41% on the previous year, the annual report said.

MDDUS’s joint head of medical division Dr Anthea Martin said: ‘Part of this overall increase can be attributed to our growing membership but, despite this, MDDUS has seen evidence of a rise in the frequency of claims against doctors over the last few years.’

She added: ‘This rise in regulatory cases is consistent with figures reported by the GMC. It reflects a number of factors including a greater proportion of registrants now being reported to the regulator by employers or colleagues.’

Readers' comments (8)

  • not surprising given the increasing hostility towards doctors

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  • Not at all surprising in view of the work load. No time to cross the 'T's" and dot the "I's". Also part time workers reduce continuity.

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  • Bear in mind the study is done by defence union who has to find a reason to increase the subscription.

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  • Has anyone ever tried to find out which consultant a patient is under the care of? Its almost impossible if they have been admitted as an emergency, or even seeing a consultant as an out patient. The patient most of the time has no idea which consultant they are under and who is following them up, they barely know which speciality most of the time! So much easier to make a claim/ complaint, about the "named GP".!

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  • anonymous 1044
    you are absolutely correct , continuity of care and a name clinician is a factor in increase complaint and claims against an individual , it is virtually impossible to make a claim , complaint or even a simple SEA stick if you have too many people involve , the chaotic flow of a patient is a factor for mistakes to happened but ironically also the cause for less complaint against a hospital doctor because you simply cant find the culprit

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  • This contributes to the already low morale of doctors .why not just introduce full body scan . No need for doctors.most complaints bear a personal grudge .

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  • You wonder the quality of GP training and assessment in recent years is adequate to practise independently. It is a worry, some of the VTS programmes and composed with specialities which has no much direct correlation to general practise and some of the very important areas like paediatrics,O&G,Psychiatry is not being included in the programme.
    Programme directors are pressured to find any speciality to make up the programme to increase the numbers.

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  • "The 42% increase in claims against GPs compares with a small decrease in the number of complaints made against hospital doctors, the annual report said"
    It seems like hospital doctors are better trained and assessed appropriately.
    Good communication skills decrease the complain and litigation risk! It is a fact. Does this mean hospital doctors communicate better?

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