MEET THE TEAM
IN THE HEART OF EDINBURGH
Understanding the medicolegal environment in Scotland requires genuine local knowledge and specialist expertise. Our Edinburgh-based team is dedicated to Scottish members, providing a bespoke service that is built around the needs and demands of Scottish practice.
As a member, it’s reassuring to know you have access to this local team of professionals whenever you encounter a dilemma or face a complaint or claim. It also helps to know more about them.
So here’s your Medical Protection Scotland team:
Dr Rob Hendry – Medical Director
Dr Gordon McDavid – Medicolegal Adviser and Cases Lead for Scotland
Dr Andrew Power – Medicolegal Adviser
Dr James Thorpe – Medicolegal Adviser
Dr Rachel Birch – Medicolegal Adviser
Dr Peter MacKenzie – Senior Medicolegal Adviser
Dr Angelique Mastihi – Senior Medicolegal Adviser
Dr Sonya McCullough – Medicolegal Adviser and Cases Lead for Ireland
Dr James Lucas – Medicolegal Adviser and Cases Lead for Northern Ireland
Lisa Furby – Medicolegal Assistant
Dr Rod McBain – Medical Claims Adviser
Dr ROB HENDRY, MEDICAL DIRECTOR
Robert was born and brought up in Glasgow and studied medicine at Dundee University. After graduating in 1981 he undertook a number of hospital appointments before becoming a partner in an urban teaching practice in Dundee in 1986.
He developed an interest in medical law and completed an MPhil in Law and Ethics in Medicine at Glasgow University in 1992. Having done some consultancy work for the Medical Protection Society and having taught part-time at Dundee University, he took up a permanent appointment as a medicolegal adviser with the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland in 1996 and remained there until he moved to the Medical Protection Society to set up their Edinburgh office in 2009.
Robert is a Foundation Fellow of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine and continues to have an interest in teaching, having honorary positions at a number of universities.
Having completed his MBA at Strathclyde University Graduate Business School in 2001 he has continued to develop his business interests. In 2011 he was appointed Deputy Medical Director and in 2013 became Medical Director of the Medical Protection Society and is currently responsible for medicolegal services delivered by the Medical Protection Society to its members worldwide.
Dr GORDON McDAVID, MEDICOLEGAL ADVISER
I graduated with MBChB from Glasgow University. I worked as a doctor in various hospitals around the west of Scotland, eventually specialising in general and respiratory medicine. Eventually I decided to move into full-time medicolegal work and joined MPS three and a half years ago. The Scottish caseload is unique in that much of the law and terminology is different from the rest of the UK.
Having an office based in the centre of Edinburgh not only makes it easier for MPS members to access our support, but it also enables us to retain local specialist knowledge of relevant rules and regulations, and to stay informed of any changes.
The role of a medicolegal adviser is quite varied. We assist members who have had an incident at work that has led to a patient making a complaint or claim against them; however, when a patient is unhappy with their care, there are lots of different ways a doctor can be criticised, be it through a fatal accident inquiry, a report to the procurator fiscal for criminal activity, or a complaint to the GMC. MPS is well-versed in those processes and is well-placed to assist members in getting the best outcome.
What I think MPS does well is offer support to members through what can be a really stressful time: you’re facing potential sanctions, the potential of a career-ending decision being taken. The MPS Edinburgh office has access to specialist Scottish legal advice both internally and externally. It’s helpful to doctors to have this individual support: MPS is there to look after your professional reputation and interests.
Dr ANDREW POWER, MEDICOLEGAL ADVISER
My background is in general practice. I trained in Glasgow and was a principal in the south side of the city for four years, before focusing on prescribing support. In 2011, I moved to MPS but continue to do out-of-hours GP work – this ensures that when speaking to members I am up-to-date with the NHS and general practice environment.
I am a member of the RCGP and RCP, and completed a diploma in healthcare ethics and law; I am also working towards membership of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. At MPS, I handle cases affecting
our members in Scotland, which can cover complaints, claims, fatal accident inquiries, disciplinary issues and regulatory matters. Medicolegal advisers have a unique role – our experience allows us to advise members that what seems to be a straight-forward issue can grow arms and legs and become something more complex. We can also reassure members: often the first thing they want to know is: “Is this the end of my career?” Sometimes a doctor feels they may need to sell their house or their car to pay for a claim, which is not the case.
The main thing is that we support members through the use of our experience. Medicolegal advice can also be proactive, and I’ve assisted with ethics tutorials at the Edinburgh Medical School and delivered complaints talks to practice managers and, more recently, to a group of consultants in Lanarkshire. I also attend the Scottish Local Medical Committee annual conference to keep abreast of issues affecting general practice in Scotland.
Dr JAMES THORPE, MEDICOLEGAL ADVISER
Prior to joining MPS, I worked in general and vascular surgery, in hospitals in the north of England and west of Scotland. Over the last few years I have been interested in the ethical and legal aspects of clinical practice, and have a growing appreciation for the ethical and legal considerations facing doctors in everyday situations.
In our work at MPS, we try to help our former colleagues in clinical practice who may be facing problems – helping them is a very rewarding part of the job, and we take advice calls on a multitude of different concerns. I am also involved in educating practising doctors – this can take the form of lectures and talks around the country, or writing for our publications – to try and reduce the chances of them facing difficulties in future.
Having recently worked in the NHS, I know the stresses and strains facing our members, particularly in the acute sector, and I understand the increasing pressures faced by all clinical staff. I hope that in my role I will be able to help my fellow professionals with the potential difficulties they may face in their careers.
RACHEL BIRCH, MEDICOLEGAL ADVISER
After qualifying in Southampton in 1994, I moved up to Edinburgh to do my A+E job, fell in love with Scotland and stayed. I have had a successful 13 year career in general practice as a salaried GP in 3 different practices within central Scotland.
Having always had an interest in medical ethics and law, I balanced part-time medicolegal work with general practice since 2006. I hung up my stethoscope in 2015 to be able to expand my role further within Medical Protection. As a medicolegal adviser in the Edinburgh team, I provide advice and support to our members in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
I have a particular passion for Risk Management and am part of our Education department’s CRSA (Clinical Risk Self Assessment) team, visiting practices and delivering specific advice and training. “Prevention is better than cure” applies equally to doctors as to patients and I strongly advocate that risks should be minimised, wherever possible, to protect staff and patients alike.
As well as providing talks and workshops, I enjoy providing written communication to our members. I am Editor-in-Chief for Practice Matters UK, contributed articles to Casebook Scotland, Practice Matters Ireland, Pulse and GP newspaper and Medical Protection's advice booklets, most recently the GP Handbook.
ALISON MEE, YOUR DEDICATED SCOTTISH GP MEMBERSHIP CONTACT
As your dedicated GP contact I will take care of any membership queries, help you navigate through the different stages of membership and ensure you are making use of all the additional benefits you receive with your Medical Protection membership.
I work closely with the practice managers of our Practice Xtra schemes to provide support, prepare quotes, answer queries and ensure that the whole team have the correct levels of indemnity in place.
A large part of my role also involves delivering the in-practice training to your whole team on a variety of topics, all aimed at helping to improve the safety of the practice and reduce potential complaints and claims.