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Casebook Vol. 22 no. 3 - September 2014

I am pleased to welcome you to the first edition of Casebook Scotland, which we are launching this month in recognition of the unique issues and topics affecting MPS members in Scotland.

I should begin by acknowledging the input of my fellow medicolegal adviser Dr Gordon McDavid and the rest of the team in our Edinburgh office. They have helped to shape the content for this and upcoming editions ofCasebook Scotland – and we will be giving readers the opportunity to find out more about the expertise of the MPS Scotland team in a future edition. In the meantime discover what else we are doing to assist members in Scotland

You won’t be surprised to know that a significant proportion of my work at MPS consists of assisting members who have been involved in an adverse event. We always advise members to be open about any errors made during the course of such an event – it is morally and ethically the correct thing to do, and can go a long way towards preventing a claim arising in the aftermath.

This is because we often find that claims derive from an angry or aggrieved (or both) patient or relative feeling they have been denied information and explanations – and, if appropriate, a simple apology – in the wake of an adverse outcome. Openness stands to benefit all parties and yet, quite understandably, there remains nervousness and uncertainty about delivering it.

Fear and anxiety over ‘blaming and shaming’ paralyses many healthcare professionals and prevents them from being open about mistakes that they may have made. This edition of Casebook features a truly harrowing first-hand account from Clare Bowen, a mother-of-two in England who lost her five-year-old daughter Beth in 2007 during surgery. A wall of silence from all involved in Beth’s care prevented Mrs Bowen and her husband from getting a full explanation of the causes of the tragedy. Our article will make sobering reading for anyone involved in healthcare today.

You will also be interested in our article which looks at the Scottish Government’s exploration of an alternative to the current system of litigation. Although the government is some way off firming up the details, the working group on no-fault compensation has been looking at the model in Sweden as the closest example of a new Scottish system. Our article looks in depth at how the no-fault scheme works in Sweden.

Dr Nick Clements – Editor-in-chief
MPS Head of Medical Services

Disclaimer: Information in this issue was correct at the time of publishing (September 2014)