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Record number of legal claims against GPs last year

Legal claims against GPs in 2013-14 reached the highest level in the Medical Defence Union’s 128 year history, as a result of reforms which saw solicitors rush to take on cases in anticipation of a cap on their fees.

The MDU’s annual report for 2013, which was published today, reports a 20% increase in claims against doctors, with the steepest rise occurring against GPs.

The defence body attributes this to a ‘rush’ from solicitors looking to notify claims under the old fees arrangements, before reforms which intend to bring down the costs for claimants came into force in April 2013.

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive said: ‘2013 was the MDU’s busiest year in our 128 year history. We answered over 33,000 calls from members to our 24-hour advice line and opened a record number of new claims files.’

‘We fully support the legal costs reforms that came in to effect in April 2013, but in the short term we have seen claimant’s solicitors rushing to notify claims under the old arrangements, prolonging the disproportionately high costs the legal changes are intended to address.’

MDU chairman Dr Peter Williams states: ‘[With] more than one million GP consultations taking place every day in the UK, it is perhaps not surprising that the rise in claims against GPs was sharper than for other specialties.’

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