“It remains your Board’s view that insurance offers the best guarantee of compensation for patients and indemnity for practitioners.” – The MDU
In its 2010 Annual Report and Accounts the MDU declared; “It remains your Board’s view that insurance offers the best guarantee of compensation for patients and indemnity for practitioners.”
Just two years later however, Dr Christine Tomkins announced a complete U-turn, declaring, “for members renewing from 1st April 2013 we no longer provide an insurance policy because recent changes in the insurance market are going to make it a far less attractive option.”
The insurance market has been inclined to dismiss both the accuracy and integrity of the MDU’s assertion, pointing instead to deteriorating claims experience (‘Claims against doctors soar by 20% in “record year” for Medical Defence Union’) and spiraling insurance costs as the real reason behind the decision.
Whatever the real reason, the ramifications are clear and what was described by the MDU themselves as “the best guarantee of compensation for patients and indemnity for practitioners” has been lost by MDU members.
The following extracts serve to illustrate just how committed the MDU were to the guarantees of insurance based indemnity and how contradictory their decision to return to discretionary indemnity appears to be.
‘End discretionary indemnity for clinical negligence claims. Dr Christine Tomkins’, CEO, Medical Defence Union
MDU response to consultation on EC proposals for a Directive on the application of cross-border healthcare. – December 2008
“In providing for cross-border healthcare, we believe member states will wish to ensure that patients can expect essentially uniform protection wherever in the EU they receive healthcare. The UK (and Ireland) are the only member states where discretionary indemnity is still available and we believe this is neither adequate nor appropriate.”
MDU believes insurance should be mandatory.
“The MDU believes that only a regulated insurance policy or NHS indemnity provides adequate indemnity for the protection of doctors, patients and the public.” Published 18th April 2006
Section 65 of the draft Medical Act (Amendment) and Miscellaneous Amendments Order 2006 proposes a new section, 44C, to the Medical Act 1983.sup1. This would give the GMC power to require all doctors holding a licence to practise to have an “adequate and appropriate” indemnity arrangement for clinical negligence claims.
Insurance Times – August 2009 Interview with Dr Tomkins – The Art of Self Defence
Shockingly, this means a substantial number of the UK’s doctors are not covered by insurance if they are sue for malpractice. And patients who have suffered from negligence may fail to be compensated. “If it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable,” Tomkins sighs.More News & Events
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