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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.’