Membership information 0800 225 677
Medicolegal advice 0800 982 766

Inside... Mastering Your Risk

Sara Williams reports from Mastering Your Risk, the first in a series of communication skills workshops provided by MPS, for members in South Africa.

What motivates patients to take action against their doctor?

Most people take action because they are dissatisfied with how their doctor has treated them. Studies have shown that most people have already chosen to take action before their doctor has even made an error. Evidence suggests that the likelihood of receiving complaints and claims may be reduced through effective communication.

Background

Up until the early 1990s there was a simplistic view about preventing risk: if doctors were technically good they would be low risk. This is not true. Several studies turned this on its head by revealing that only 2-3% of patients who suffered negligence actually sued their doctor, and 70% of litigation is related to poor communication after an adverse event.

On the back of this research MPS launched a series of risk management workshops to teach doctors how to prevent complaints and claims by improving their interactions with patients and colleagues. I recently had the pleasure of attending the first workshop in this series: Mastering Your Risk.

Inside Mastering Your Risk

Dr Ruth Livingstone, the MPS facilitator for the day, brings with her 30 years’ experience working as a GP. She started the first half of the three-hour workshop by exploring why patients sue their doctors, using real comments from patients as examples. The role of communication was explored as the delegates watched a video depicting a very poor consultation. Lively debate dominated the latter part of the workshop, as the delegates learned how they can improve their interactions with patients and put their new-found knowledge into practice on each other.

The delegates learned how they can improve their interactions with patients and put their new-found knowledge into practice on each other

After a final session on risk-reduction strategies for medical teams, Dr Livingstone ended the workshop on a positive note, reminding delegates that by adopting a range of simple communication skills, their personal risk is reduced. Her take-home message for delegates was simple: “People are reluctant to sue someone they like.”

Don’t take our word for it: “The workshop was, as usual, of high quality and informative. The standard we have come to expect from MPS. It really made me aware of the possible litigation risk lurking, and to keep me on my guard at all times.” Dr Aadil Ahmed, a previous delegate of the Mastering Your Risk workshop.

Mastering Your Risk is the first in a series of communication skills workshops provided by MPS. Other workshops in these series are currently available free of charge to MPS members. For more information including forthcoming dates, venues and online booking please click here.
Download a PDF of this edition
Leave a comment