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Medico Legal

Medics facing unparalleled increase in negligence claims

Doctors are facing unprecedented increases in claims for compensation for clinical negligence, according to the Medical Defence Union, the mutual organisation that indemnifies doctors and dentists against claims for negligence and malpractice.

In its Annual Report for 2011, published on 10 August, the MDU said the medico-legal challenges faced by doctors are "unmatched in the company's 126-year history".

In a statement, the MDU said that, during 2011, it opened 17% more medical claims files, saw an 18% rise in requests for assistance with GMC investigations and a 56% increase in disciplinary cases against GP and hospital doctor members, compared to the previous year.


Olympic doping lab to become research centre

Doping facilityIn what has been described as a "phenomenal" contribution to the London 2012 legacy, the Games' anti-doping facilities, provided by GlaxoSmithKline at its Harlow base, will be developed after the Olympic and Paralympic Games into a world-class resource that could help revolutionise healthcare. The MRC-NIHR Phenome Centre will use the cutting edge facilities developed for London 2012 to help develop better and more targeted treatment for patients. The centre, the first of its kind in the world, will enable researchers to explore the characteristics of disease in order to develop new drugs and treatments for patients.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:10


Surgeons call for legal protection of job title

Expert Witness surgeons story picture of surgeons operating from US armed forces picsThe Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has called on the Government to legally protect the job title 'surgeon', so only those who have qualified as a medical doctor and undertaken post-graduate surgical training can use the title. The call follows publication of a survey for its patient group, which found that 95% of adults in Great Britain would expect an individual using the job title 'surgeon' to have a medical degree.

The poll, carried out by ICM, reveals the overwhelming level of public trust that surgeons are medically qualified, despite the fact that there are no legal restrictions about who can and can't be called a surgeon.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 15:00


Profession welcomes Howe report, but victims remain unimpressed

Your Expert Witness Lord HoweThe biggest scandal to have hit the plastic surgery profession took a new turn with the publication on 14 May of health minister Lord Howe’s review of the PiP breast implants affair. Lord Howe found that, although the regulator acted appropriately and followed scientific and clinical advice, there is room for improvement and serious lessons must be learned.

Lord Howe was tasked with looking into whether the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Department of Health acted properly both before and after information about the implants came to light. He made a number of recommendations for improvements to the operation of the MHRA, including that it should identify ways of gathering better evidence on the safety of devices, broaden its approach to analysing reported problems with higher risk medical devices and find better ways of communicating with the public.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:52


One in 20 GP prescriptions contains an error

Your Expert Witness pillsA major study of GP prescribing has found that, while the vast majority of prescriptions written by family doctors are appropriate and effectively monitored, around one in 20 contain an error.

Researchers looking at a sample of GP practices in England found that where there were errors, most were classed as mild or moderate, but around 1 in every 550 prescription items was judged to contain a serious error. The most common errors were missing information on dosage, prescribing an incorrect dosage, and failing to ensure that patients got necessary monitoring through blood tests.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:03