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12-08-2012 | General practice | Article

GP negligence claims soar


Medical Defence Union

MedWire News: Claims of clinical negligence against GPs have hit an all time high, says the Medical Defence Union.

The MDU's Annual Report for 2011 revealed a 56% increase in disciplinary cases against GP and hospital doctors compared with the previous year, with an overall 17% increase in medical claims files being opened and an 18% rise in requests for MDU assistance.

Doctors also seem to be requesting expert advice and support more frequently, the MDU says, with 30,000 members contacting its 24-hour helpline for medico-legal or dento-legal advice last year.

MDU Chief Executive Dr Christine Tomkins said: "Our members are turning to us for support and advice at a time of unprecedented change in both the medico-legal climate and their working environment.

"There has been a sharp increase in the number of complaints to the GMC, though there is no evidence of a drop in professional standards. The number and cost of negligence claims against doctors is also rising."

The MDU adds that the report likely reflects the increased regulatory challenges doctors are facing, with the introduction of revalidation due later this year and GP practice registration with the Care Quality Commission coming into effect in 2013.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price