Membership information 0800 225 677
Medicolegal advice 0800 982 766

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Q
    What is MPS?
    +
    20 May 2016
    MPS is the world’s leading medical defence organisation, putting members first by providing professional support and expert medicolegal advice throughout their careers. We have more than 300,000 members worldwide. 

    MPS has been helping doctors who find themselves in medicolegal difficulties since 1892. We are here to help and support members when they need it. We work only for the benefit of our members, and have no external commercial or shareholder interests to distract us.

    A recent survey of our members provided the following feedback:

    “I have contacted MPS on a number of occasions for general advice and have always been very impressed by the services I received.”

    “Very quick responses, clear advice and guidance, a sympathetic ear.”

    “Speedy, efficient, courteous, knowledgeable – I have always been impressed by the MPS and my latest enquiry only strengthened my good opinion.”
  • Q
    I'm worried about something that's happened. Can I talk to MPS about it?
    +
    02 September 2014
    If you are concerned about any issue or incident which has occurred in your capacity as a doctor or other healthcare worker, we would encourage you to get in touch immediately to ask our advice. There is no stigma attached to seeking guidance or support, and we would rather you asked for help in time to avoid a problem instead of waiting and hoping for the best, only to find yourself in greater difficulties later.
  • Q
    Will you still help me if I leave MPS?
    +
    01 September 2014
    Where you are eligible for MPS’s occurrence-based protection you can seek assistance for any complaint or claim arising from an adverse incident that took place during membership of MPS – even if it is brought years later, or if you have long since left MPS. Occurrence-based protection means you do not need to make any further arrangements for long-term protection after your membership ends.
  • Q
    Does my membership apply to Good Samaritan acts?
    +
    17 June 2016
    Yes. In the unlikely event that you are sued as a result of a Good Samaritan act, you can apply for assistance from Medical Protection, no matter where in the world the action is brought.

    We consider that a response to the GoodSAM App, provided it is in accordance with the GoodSAM App code of conduct, falls within our definition of a Good Samaritan Act.
  • Q
    I will be taking a career break/going on maternity leave/retiring soon. How does this affect my membership?
    +
    20 May 2016

    Members who retire, take a career break or who otherwise stop practising medicine voluntarily - either temporarily or permanently (excluding holidays), can request to retain MPS membership in the retired/deferred category.

    As a retired or deferred member with occurrence-based protection, you pay no subscription, still receive the MPS journal, Casebook, and our Annual Report and Accounts, and can apply for MPS assistance with any medicolegal problems arising from a “good Samaritan act”.

    However, if you decide to leave MPS, then you will not be entitled to any assistance in relation to a good Samaritan act if the incident occurs after your membership has ended. You must also inform us before you resume practice, so that we can ensure you are placed in the correct category of membership.

    Members with claims-made protection should contact us to find out how a break will affect their membership.

  • Q
    How do I apply for membership with MPS?
    +
    20 May 2016
    Students can apply online for free MPS membership. All other doctors can access application forms from the Join MPS section of the website (see the "Join" button at the top of the page). Please ensure you read the important information at the bottom of the page before completing the application and returning it to the address shown at the top of the form.

    The application must be completed in full and signed and dated within two months of your required membership start date.

    Your application can be submitted by post, fax or email.
  • Q
    Can I undertake cosmetic procedures?
    +
    17 September 2014
    MPS defines cosmetic/aesthetic procedures as those which have as their primary purpose the alteration of the non-pathological external appearance of a patient. 

    If you are not an accredited plastic surgeon and you are considering undertaking any cosmetic/aesthetic procedures, whether surgical or non-surgical, you must contact an MPS membership adviser to discuss your plans in advance.
  • Q
    Can I do voluntary work overseas?
    +
    17 September 2014
    MPS may offer professional protection for volunteer doctors working for a recognised charity or humanitarian organisation. Please contact us as soon as possible on +44 113 243 6436 or email international@mps.org.uk if you intend to work in this capacity.
  • Q
    I did not see a debit leave my account this month. Is my membership still active?
    +
    03 October 2014
    For administrative reasons, MPS does not take debit payments in the first and last months of the membership year. If it is not the first or last month of your membership year and no debit has left your account, please contact our membership team.
  • Q
    How can I inform you about a change in my contact details?
    +
    03 October 2014

    You can inform us about a change in your contact details by:

    • Registering on the MPS website and submitting the changes (click here to register for online membership services)
    • Telephone by calling 0800 225 677
    • Fax on 086 635 8810 or 012 481 2061
    • Email to mps@samedical.org
    • Post by writing to our membership team: Jackie Laas, c/o South African Medical Association, PO Box 74789, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria, 0040.

    Please remember to include your MPS membership number (or HPCSA number if you cannot remember your membership number) and your full details in your request.

  • Q
    Can I apply for membership on your website?
    +
    03 October 2014
    Medical students can apply online here

    Other applicants must complete and submit a form offline. Click here for details of how to apply for MPS membership.
  • Q
    Can I make payment on application?
    +
    03 October 2014
    You can submit your bank details (for a debit order to be set up) or a cheque when you submit your application for membership. However, payment cannot be taken until your application has been determined and approved.

    Please see the ‘Payment Details’ section on the application form for further details of your options.
  • Q
    Can I renew my membership online?
    +
    03 October 2014

    If you are a Medical Officer Grade 2 or 3, private GP or private specialist, you can renew your subscription online. Simply follow this step-by-step guide.

    1. Click here to register for online membership services.
    2. Complete page one of the registration form. Your membership number should be entered in the format SA#####, with “SA” replacing the first two digits of your number and the “/” as shown on your subscription renewal notice. For example, 07/99999 should be entered as SA99999.
    3. Complete page two of the registration form, selecting your Username and Password in accordance with the guidance.
    4. Once you have completed the registration process, you can complete your renewal online.

    If you have difficulty completing your renewal online, please contact SAMA by calling 012 481 2070 or email mps@samedical.org.

  • Q
    How can I pay my subscription?
    +
    24 October 2017

    You can make payment by: 

    • Debit order from a South African or Namibian bank account, either annually or in ten monthly instalments. On request to pay by debit order, preferably include a cancelled cheque. A debit order authority can be found in your renewal pack.
    • Cheque for the full subscription amount made payable to The Medical Protection Society Ltd and sent to South African Medical Association, PO Box 74789, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria, 0040.
    • Credit card for the full subscription amount by calling 0800 225 677.
  • Q
    Why do you take ten monthly debit orders and not twelve?
    +
    03 October 2014
    For administrative reasons, MPS does not take debit payments in the first and last months of the membership year.
  • Q
    I don't have a cheque book. Do I have to submit a cheque to activate a debit order?
    +
    03 October 2014
    If you don't have a cheque book, please inform us of your desire to pay by debit order and provide your full bank details in an email to mps@samedical.org. Please ensure that your membership number and details are included in your email.

    Alternatively, you can choose the debit order payment option and fill in your bank details in the debit order section on your renewal form. 

    Access the membership application forms
  • Q
    Do I have to submit my bank details again on my renewal form if they have not changed?
    +
    23 October 2017
    No. If your bank details have not changed, you will not have to submit them again. 

    We will continue to take payment by debit order until we receive a request in writing from you either to change your bank details or to cancel the debit order instruction.
  • Q
    If none of the details on my renewal form have changed, do I still need to return it to MPS?
    +
    25 October 2017

    Yes, it’s still important that we review and confirm your details in our records.

    Please ensure that all your details are correct, sign and return your renewal notice as soon as possible.

    If the scope of practice details you provide are different to what we hold, we may need to contact you to understand whether we need to apply any changes to your current year’s membership.

  • Q
    What is my payment reference number and how can I find it?
    +
    03 October 2014
    Your payment reference number is shown on all subscription renewal documentation, in the format mps00#####. 

    If you are a Medical Officer Grade 2 or 3, private GP or private specialist, you will find the payment reference on page two of your renewal document in the payment details section.

    For other members, the payment reference is printed in the top right-hand corner of your renewal document.

    The payment reference can also be found on the ‘Outstanding Membership Fee’ document.
  • Q
    Can I change my correspondence address over the telephone?
    +
    03 October 2014
    Yes. However, you should note that the change can only be made on your personal instruction and not by any third party. Call 0800 225 677 to update your contact details.
  • Q
    In which countries does MPS offer protection?
    +
    03 October 2014

    The main jurisdictions where MPS has members include the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Caribbean and Bermuda. However, we do have smaller numbers of members in other countries, so it is often possible to continue your membership even if, for example, you are doing voluntary work overseas.

    If you are planning to practise overseas then you must contact MPS to discuss your professional protection before you travel. Please email the details of your trip, including which country (or countries) you will be visiting and the type of work you will be undertaking, to southafricamembership@mps.org.uk. Alternatively, you can contact us by:

    • Telephone: +44 113 243 0535
    • Fax: +44 113 241 0500
    • Post: Membership Services, Medical Protection Society, Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE, United Kingdom.
  • Q
    Can I practice in other countries?
    +
    03 October 2014

    Your membership will provide protection for practice you undertake in South Africa and Namibia.

    If you are planning to practise outside these countries then you must contact MPS to discuss your professional protection before you travel. Please email the details of your trip, including which country (or countries) you will be visiting and the type of work you will be undertaking, to southafricamembership@mps.org.uk

    Alternatively, you can contact us by:

    • Telephone: +44 113 243 0535
    • Fax: +44 113 241 0500
    • Post: Membership Services, Medical Protection Society, Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE, United Kingdom.
  • Q
    Does my membership provide protection for practice in the UK or Ireland?
    +
    03 October 2014

    Your membership will not automatically provide protection for any practice you perform in the UK or Ireland.

    If you are planning to practise in the UK or Ireland, you must contact the MPS Membership Department to discuss your circumstances before you travel. The Membership Department can be contacted by:

    • Telephone: +44 113 243 6436
    • Fax: +44 113 241 0500
    • Email: member.help@mps.org.uk 
    • Post: Membership Department, Medical Protection Society, Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE, United Kingdom.
  • Q
    I have been offered work in the UK or Ireland via an agency. Whom do I notify?
    +
    05 October 2014

    If you are planning to practise in the UK or Ireland, you must contact the MPS Membership Department to discuss your circumstances before you travel. The Membership Department can be contacted by:

    • Telephone: +44 (0)113 243 6436
    • Fax: +44 113 241 0500
    • Email: member.help@mps.org.uk
    • Post: Membership Department, Medical Protection Society, Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE, United Kingdom.

     

    Please note that you must do this personally. The agency will not be able to discuss your circumstances or make arrangements with MPS on your behalf.

  • Q
    Why is my membership number not accepted when I try to register for MPS online services?
    +
    05 October 2014

    Your membership number should be entered in the format SA#####, with “SA” replacing the first two digits of your number and the “/” as shown on your subscription renewal notice. For example, 07/99999 should be entered as SA99999.

  • Q
    I am an Occupational Health specialist. Which category applies?
    +
    05 October 2014

    Occupational Health specialists are eligible to apply for membership in a general practitioner grade. The procedures you perform will determine which grade will be applicable.

  • Q
    Do I get a reduced subscription rate if I participate in MPS education?
    +
    22 September 2014

    No, not at present. MPS sets its subscription rates to reflect the risks of various groups of doctors who share similar characteristics – for example specialty groupings. Therefore, the rate you pay is set to reflect the level of potential risk. 

    At the present time the main benefits to the individual practitioner of engaging with our educational programs are:

    • Enhanced risk management skills
    • Improved patient outcomes
    • Reduced likelihood of involvement with claims or complaints and the associated stress, worry and inconvenience they bring.
  • Q
    I have lost my membership certificate. Do you charge for sending out a duplicate?
    +
    29 September 2014

    No. We can issue a duplicate certificate to you free of charge. If your membership subscription is fully paid and up to date, you can also download a copy of your certificate here.

    Download my membership certificate

    Otherwise, please contact your local membership office to discuss your requirements.

  • Q
    I do some work as an expert witness. How does this affect my membership?
    +
    29 September 2014

    MPS regards providing an expert opinion as an integral part of professional practice. As with all aspects of professional practice it is essential that you act within the limits of your own expertise.

    MPS has assisted many members with claims arising out of the provision of an expert opinion and considers these in the same way as any other claim in negligence against a member.

    Please contact us to check that you are paying the correct subscription to reflect your medicolegal practice.

  • Q
    In addition to clinical negligence, will MPS assist with other liability arising from my practice?
    +
    02 September 2014

    Extended liability

    MPS membership grants the right to request indemnity in relation to your own clinical practice. However, as an owner or partner in a practice you may be responsible for liability arising from other elements of the business, for example:

    • vicarious liability for the acts and omissions of other healthcare professionals or staff at your practice;
    • liability for products that are sold at your practice;
    • liability in relation to the safety of the practice environment; and
    • liability for non-clinical matters such as taxes and the performance of contracts entered into by or on behalf of your practice.

    It is important to understand that the subscription for an individual MPS member is calculated on the basis of the risk represented by that member alone. In the interests of fairness across the membership as a whole, where you are exposed to additional liabilities (such as those listed above), you do not have the right request indemnity for matters beyond your own clinical practice, unless your membership grade is expressly extended to cover these. Note that MPS offers corporate membership and other bespoke arrangements for members who require indemnity for the clinical negligence of their staff. Please contact your local membership office for further information.

    Find out more about the limitations of MPS membership
  • Q
    If I have state indemnity do I still need Medical Protection membership too?
    +
    22 October 2017

    If you are employed by the state, and treat patients in a state facility, then the state provides indemnity against claims arising from your professional practice.

    State indemnity will only cover the financial consequences of a claim for clinical negligence. Its purpose is to ensure public patients are compensated if they suffer harm, rather than protect you or your professional interests.

    However, it does not extend to assistance for:

    • internal complaints and disciplinaries related to your clinical practice
    • inquests
    • HPCSA investigations
    • criminal allegations arising from the provision of clinical care.

    As a Medical Protection member you would however be entitled to request assistance in these circumstances.

    We can also help members by advising them on how best to protect themselves in their professional practice, assisting in preparing and checking reports for the State Attorney and providing assistance with media relations to help protect their reputation.

    Additional benefits include, but are not limited to, free communication skills and risk management workshops, verifiable CPD and CEU, emergency medicolegal advice available 24/7, and support and assistance for Good Samaritan acts.

    More information about Medical Protection membership for state-indemnified professionals can be found here

  • Q
    I’m a radiologist in private practice, but occasionally I see or report on a State patient or their images. Who indemnifies this work - Medical Protection or the State?
    +
    03 March 2017

    Subject to payment of the appropriate membership subscription, Medical Protection assistance is available for matters arising from your private practice where you are not entitled to seek assistance or indemnity from another source.

    Medical Protection indemnity does NOT extend to matters arising where at the time of the incident you were employed or managed by the state/provincial healthcare system.

    For example:

    1. A member (either on their own account or as part of a practice arrangement) practising in private rooms, including reporting on imaging of state patients (whether taken on state or private hospital premises), where the member receives payment of private fees for provision of that service. We would normally consider this to be private practice. Medical Protection assistance is available for incidents arising from this work.
    2. A member (either on their own account or as part of a practice arrangement) practising in dedicated rooms located within state facilities which have been hired from the state, with the member supplying their own equipment and staff. Including reporting on imaging of state patients* where the member receives payment of private fees for provision of that service. We would normally consider this to be private practice. Medical Protection assistance is available for incidents arising from this work.
    3. A member (either on their own account or as part of a practice arrangement) working within a state facility treating state patients with equipment provided by the facility, and undertaking such activities as are required of them at the direction or control of the state. (This would include working as a sessional doctor, part-time employee, locum tenens etc). We would normally consider this to be practicing within the state healthcare system. Medical Protection indemnity would not extend in this circumstance, as it should be indemnified by the state.

    If you feel your individual circumstances fall outside of the above examples, please contact a membership adviser to discuss your indemnity requirements.

    *For the avoidance of doubt this would include where the image was taken by the State and transmitted (whether electronically or by transfer of hard copy images) to the member for reporting

  • Q
    As a member who is a GP, does my indemnity allow me to undertake tongue-tie division procedures?
    +
    17 October 2017

    GPs who have full Medical Protection membership can request indemnity for tongue-tie division if:

    • they have appropriate training and experience
    • patients/parents are properly informed of the procedure, this includes the risks as well as potential complications, and consent has been obtained before proceeding
    • it is performed in an appropriate setting. Procedures not carried out in clinical premises must be undertaken in a safe environment with adequate and appropriate facilities.
  • Q
    Can I undertake the Harmony prenatal test when it is offered privately?
    +
    17 October 2017

    Those who are on obstetrics/gynaecology, paediatric and GPs on their current grade can request indemnity for undertaking the Harmony prenatal test provided members ensure:

    • patients are adequately counselled and consented
    • patients are appropriately followed up
    • full records are maintained (including records of the counselling and consent, as well as follow up arrangements).