Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs defended successfully in four out of five negligence claims

The Medical Defence Union successfully defended GPs against four out of five medical negligence claims last year, according to its annual report.

The MDU said that 2015 was 'another challenging year' for its members amid NHS financial pressures and a sustained high level of claims made against GPs.

But the defence organisation said that while 'claims have increased over recent years, so has the MDU’s success rate in defending cases', with 80% now successfullly defended. This compared to around 70% in the previous ten-year period.

MDU chief executive Dr Christine Tomkins said: 'In 2015, we only paid compensation in 20% of medical claims, successfully defending the remaining 80%.

'However, these unmeritorious claims still take their toll on members and there is a considerable cost to the MDU in investigating and responding to so many of them.'

She added that it would be 'wrong to conclude' that the fact claims are so common 'represents a deterioration in standards of care'.

She said: 'The climate in which doctors work can often seem difficult, but professional standards are very high and our members continue to provide excellent care to the communities they serve.'

The comments come as GPs said their indemnity fees rose by a more than quarter last year and as NHS England has said a £60m indemnity support fund will be shared among GP practices to cover average increases to costs from next April.

Readers' comments (7)

  • T Roscoe

    should that not be 4 out of 5 claims are spurious?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I wish we could counter sue

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • These guys are not with MPS which immediately raises your premium for seeking advice and then buries you telling you are at fault even if a patient let's out an unwarranted fart on the street.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • John Glasspool

    Yes, 4 out of 5 successful because the organizations roll over and pay the claims on so many occasions that only the most potty ones get to court, I suspect.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Can anyone explain to me why we cannot issue a counter claim to recover our costs?

    Is there anything in law to stop this - the claims culture seems to be doing an awful lot of damage to the NHS and effectively these law firms are getting a free ride. Is it the GMC stopping it or are we just being played?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • MPS rolls over as it has 2.5 billions in reserves according to their financial statement. From what I've gathered MDU and MDDUS are better - and cheaper too. Ditch MPS!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Can anyone explain to me why we cannot issue a counter claim to recover our costs"

    I just thought this was standard - but maybe I am wrong.

    I thought on top of that you could counter-sue for defamation or liable or something similar if you can prove (on the balance of probability) that the action was malicious.

    That should be done as well.

    Even if people cannot pay, I think making a few people bankrupt for inappropriately trying to take their slice of the compensation pie is appropriate. It might, at the very minimum, increase the cost of the insurance some people take to cover the risk of counter-claims and hopefully put some people of making spurious claims. That would have a bigger effect on our premiums than any successful counter-claim that was easily paid out.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

IMPORTANT: On Wednesday 7 December 2016, we implemented a new log in system, and if you have not updated your details you may experience difficulties logging in. Update your details here. Only GMC-registered doctors are able to comment on this site.