The Dentist Magazine.

MDDUS responds to appropriate clinical negligence cover consultation

Published: 3/4/2019 12:00:00 AM

The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) believes there is no evidence to suggest healthcare professionals and patients will be better protected through regulation of clinical negligence cover – and that the current indemnity model remains the gold standard that serves healthcare professionals and protects patients.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) consultation, Appropriate Clinical Negligence Cover, proposes a change in legislation to ensure all healthcare professionals not covered by state-backed indemnity have insurance for clinical negligence claims.

MDDUS chief executive, Chris Kenny, said, “As a not-for-profit mutual funded by our own members with no shareholders to pay, we have been serving and protecting our members for over 115 years. Our discretionary indemnity provides us with greater flexibility to assist our members and at the same time ensure proper compensation for patients harmed as a result of clinical negligence.

“We support regulation where there is a need but not regulation for the sake of it. Patients will not be better protected as a result of these proposals. This consultation provides no evidence of shortcomings in the current discretionary model and no evidence that regulation will better protect patients. The case for change simply hasn’t been made. And the consultation document, as our response shows, falls far short of the standards government has set itself for considering change on this scale.

“Indeed, instead of supporting choice and proposing concrete actions on legal reform that make a real difference, the government is seeking to impose a cost increase on healthcare professionals by moving to an insurance-based model that will attract a 12 per cent insurance premium tax. Only the Chancellor of the Exchequer benefits from that change.

“This consultation is yet another missed opportunity to tackle the real issues that are driving rising costs for healthcare professionals. Regulation won’t solve the problems of increasing clinical negligence costs. If government is serious about reducing the cost and stress burdens of unjustified litigation on the NHS and GPs, then it needs a joined-up approach on tort reform.”