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GPs ‘practising defensively in wake of Baby P’



By Smitha Mundasad

High profile media coverage of child abuse stories such as the Baby P case has prompted GPs to practice more cautiously and seek medico-legal advice more often, the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) claimed this week.

The medical defence organisation said doctors were becoming more risk-aware, after reporting a record total of 7,060 calls in 2009, an increase of 11 percent on the previous year.

Dr Gail Gilmartin, a senior medico-legal adviser at MDDUS, said: ‘This is partly due to our steady growth in membership throughout the UK, but also because there is a greater awareness amongst medics that they should seek advice at the earliest possible opportunity.’

The defence union reported an increase in calls from doctors seeking advice on a number of key issues, with paediatric queries increasing by more than 16 percent. Dr Gilmartin said this was likely to be influenced by ‘the publicity generated by the Baby P case and other high-profile child abuse stories reported in the news.’

‘Medics are becoming more aware of risks in part due to the media highlighting significant cases,’ he added. ‘As a result, they are coming to us for advice at an early stage, before a problem has escalated.’

The MDDUS predicts a further increase in calls in the coming year.

High profile child abuse stories have caused GPs to seek medico-legal advice more often, the MDDUS says High profile child abuse stories have caused GPs to seek medico-legal advice more often, the MDDUS says