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MDU expands legal team to combat rising claims against GPs

Medical defence experts have been forced to expand their legal team to help GPs face an unprecedented level of complaints and claims.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has announced that it has recruited five additional solicitors and a paralegal to help them cope with rising demands for advice from their members.

The move comes after the number of medico-legal claims against GPs rose by 40% in 2012 and is now at record levels.

The GMC has also reported a 18% increase in complaints during 2012, and doctors more than ever need legal support, according to the MDU.

Charles Dewhurst, head of legal services at the MDU, said: ‘We have expanded our in-house legal team to support members who require legal support and advice.

‘The medical and dental professions are subject to a growing level of regulation and scrutiny, with clinical negligence claims and complaints to regulators running at an all time high.

‘However, it is important to say that we see no evidence of a drop in professional standards.’

Pulse reported last year that two thirds of GPs have become more defensive in the way they practise medicine over the past year.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Rising workloads make general practice increasingly unsafe. Rushed, overwhelmed doctors make mistakes.

    My background is 80 hour weekends with 3-4 hours sleep.

    Time to define safe work loads for GPs eg pilots, lorry drivers.

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  • Ameer Khan

    A 40% rise in claims and complaints is an appalling figure. A downtrodden profession that has been bashed from all directions, the government, the media and now the patients... Who do we turn to?

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  • Anonymous | 10 April 2013 8:00pm

    There arent 80 hours in a 2 day weekend so Im not sure how you are managing that. Even if you worked from 6pm friday til 8am monday non stop you only get to 62 hrs.

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  • Rising workloads, ever increasing patients demands and expectations, negative media and culture change re compensation and 'rights' have contributed to this increase in complaints. GPs expected to care for more and more in community without adequate resources to cope All recipe for disaster.
    Patients demanding inappropriate home visits with threat will complain if don't go all add to huge work load and income keeps dropping and professionalism thing if past Role in retirement !

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  • It's not just 'complaints'. I had to attend the GMC's outpost in Manchester for a mere 'concern' about something I said in a phone call to a colleague because my local PCT was too incompetent to deal with it. It must have cost the MDU a small fortune for the solicitor-time. Nearly a year after the event I have at last received a letter of apology from the GMC for the way it was dealt with. I doubt if I will ever receive one from my now thankfully defunct trust.

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  • I am a bit suprised by this title, as yes there is an increase in complaints, but most of them do not have to be dealt with by the MDU (or other similar organisations).
    The MDU is doing well financially as its board of directors gave themselves over a 19% increase in salaries last year... not too bad really! The MPS figure was 13.2%and the MDDUS 7.9%... looks like the MDU is getting greedy. I have written to them and had a standard type letter. I will change my insurance when the time comes and hope that the MDDUS dont' start behaving like the MDU.

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