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Update

Guiding you through the claims process

Following member feedback, MPS has launched a new way of supporting members when they receive a clinical negligence claim. Designed to provide members with an efficient and informative service, the new process will streamline the experience for members who find themselves on the receiving end of a claim. A new Claims Guide provides clear information about how MPS can help, and explains the legal process step by step.

More details are featured in the September edition of Casebook.

New Health Minister, Leo Varadkar

A new Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, was appointed on 11 July. Dr Varadkar is a qualified GP, having studied Medicine at Trinity College Dublin. MPS has written to him to ask for a meeting to discuss the claims environment in Ireland.

Review of medical training and career structure

The Department of Health has published the Final Report of the Strategic Review of Medical Training and Career Structure. The report focuses on issues relating to strategic medical workforce planning, career planning and mentoring support for trainee doctors. It also addresses specific issues in relation to the specialties of public health medicine, general practice and the community-based aspects of psychiatry.

Meet your Regional Membership Co-ordinator: Rachel Lynch

Rachel has worked in the Marketing Department at MPS for ten years:

“I regularly visit medical schools and hospitals to talk to members and arrange medicolegal events for some of the professional organisations in Ireland, including the Royal Colleges.

“If you are organising a teaching event, training day or conference, then you can contact me to help arrange sponsorship or a speaker.”

Contact her on 087 2867491 or at rachel.lynch@mps.org.uk.

News in brief

’Exodus’ of trainees is a complex issue – study

Over 80% of doctors entering basic specialist training aspire to work as consultants in Ireland, according to a new study. However, the study, which was recently published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science, found that 92.5% intend to spend some time working abroad, adding that trainees leave the Irish healthcare system for lifestyle reasons, but also due to failure to be appointed to higher specialist training programmes.

Medical Council recognises new specialties

The Medical Council has announced that it now recognises three new specialties: intensive care medicine, neonatology, and pain medicine.

Source: Medical Council

ICGP news

Dr Peter Sloane, ICGP NEGs Director, has been elected to the role of Chairperson of the Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM). The VdGM is the WONCA Europe working group for new and future GPs. It has members from 37 European countries and undertakes a range of activities, including research and education. Dr Sloane will hold the Chairpersonship on behalf of Ireland for the next three years.

In addition, the ICGP has been awarded the Second Vasco da Gama Movement Forum. This two day European conference for new GPs and family doctors in training will take place in Dublin on 20 and 21 February 2015. The theme is “Family Medicine 2.0: Innovation and Awareness”. A number of speakers have already been invited and it is planned to use the Forum as an opportunity to showcase the very best of Ireland and Irish general practice.

Source: Dr Peter Sloane

MPS wants legal reform in Ireland

MPS is lobbying the government to introduce a pre-action protocol to make the claims process more efficient. We believe that significant legal reform is the most effective way of reducing the cost of clinical negligence and the cost burden on doctors; however, in the short-term, the introduction of a pre-action protocol is an important element of this and should offer a relatively simple-to-implement solution.

A pre-action protocol outlines what actions should be taken and information given at what stage and within what timeline. This should introduce predictability, discipline and transparency to the claims process, benefiting both healthcare professionals and patients. It can also help the patient/clinician relationship by encouraging a climate of greater openness. Further benefits include:

  • Resolution of more clinical negligence claims without recourse to the courts, helping to reduce legal costs.
  • Timely disclosure of medical records, which help to speed up the resolution of a claim.
  • Narrowing the issues in dispute before proceedings are issued, putting both the plaintiff and defendant in a better position to make fully reasoned pleadings. This helps to cut down on cost and delay as court pleadings are less likely to require future amendment.
  • Early disclosure of information on claimed financial loss and offers to settle, helping to resolve claims quicker.

Such a protocol – as long as it has effective incentives to ensure compliance – may go some way to control the legal costs associated with clinical negligence claims.

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