Number of claims against healthcare workers at all-time high, says MDU

The MDU’s annual report found that over 14,000 new case files were opened in 2014, which includes complaints, disciplinary procedures, regulatory body enquiries, coroners’ inquests, criminal investigations and other legal or ethical difficulties for both medical and dental practices. The word ‘complaint’ was also the most searched term in their guidance.

Despite the increase in claims, the MDU report says that the success rate of defending claims was the best it has been in ten years, with almost 80 per cent of medical claims that closed in 2014 successfully defended with no damages or costs paid.

Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said: “The truth is there are many and various reasons why patients bring complaints and claims and it has never been easier for them to do so. It’s also important to realise that while the number as costs of claims are increasing each year, almost 80 per cent of medical claims notified to us are successfully defended.”

Dr Peter Williams, MDU’s chairman, said: “Coupled with the introduction of the statutory duty of candour for healthcare organisations, we are seeing an increasing willingness by policymakers to criminalise poor care. This is despite the paucity of evidence of the kind of neglect of lack of candour that the laws are intended to address.

“Of course bad practice should be eradicated, but criminalising it will, we believe, only serve to erode trust in the health professions.”

Read the report here

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