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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.