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MDO calls for MDO membership to be made ‘compulsory’

A medical defence organisation has called for membership to be a ‘regulatory requirement’, in response to new GMC research.

The GMC research, published in BMC Medicine, looked into the outcomes of 1,049 doctors referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service between June 2012 and May 2017.

The cross-sectional research concluded that the outcome of MPTS decisions was ‘consistently’ linked to doctors’ engagement during hearings, and those who failed to attend or did not have legal representation led to more serious outcomes.

As a result, multiple MDOs have stressed the importance of having a membership with an MDO to ‘safeguard’ their interests before the regulator.

MDDUS chief executive Chris Kenny said the study adds to their calls for the GMC to ‘prescribe MDO membership’.

He said: ‘This report underlines how important it is for doctors to be members of a medical defence organisation – even after the introduction of state-backed indemnity in England and Wales, which does not cover support for events such as GMC referrals.

‘We believe it strengthens our call for the GMC to prescribe MDO membership, or equivalent arrangements, as a regulatory requirement across the board.

‘This report highlights how going it alone can lead to worse outcomes for doctors. A doctor who is subject to a GMC investigation should engage their MDO immediately.’

MPS medical director Dr Rob Hendry said the research confirming that doctors without legal advice can face worse outcomes serves as a ‘powerful reminder’.

He said: ‘This study confirms what we have known for some time; that sadly doctors without legal support face tougher sanctions following Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearings.

‘It serves as a powerful reminder of how important it is for a doctor to have membership with a medical defence organisation that will safeguard their interests before the regulator.’