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Provision of medicolegal reports/acting as a medicolegal expert

01 August 2017

If you are a doctor and want to practise medicine in the UK, you need to hold GMC registration with a licence to practise. 

Given this requirement, we have carefully considered the appropriate criteria we require of members who produce medicolegal reports and/or act as a medicolegal expert. 

Producing reports from records only

Doctors producing medicolegal reports purely from records are not required by Medical Protection to have a licence to practise, but are expected to:

  • act within the bounds of their competency and specialty, and
  • inform the instructing solicitor whether or not they have a licence to practise and/or intention to maintain it in the future. 

It may well be that possession of a licence to practise in such a situation will lend credibility in the provision of a report, but at present it is not a condition that we require.

Producing reports from direct assessment and/or patient examination

In addition to the requirement to advise the instructing solicitor whether or not you have licence to practise and/or intend to maintain it in the future, we require any doctor directly assessing and/or examining a patient for the purposes of producing a medicolegal report to maintain a licence to practise.

This is required for all condition and prognosis reports, and any other type of medicolegal report where direct assessment and/or examination is required. 

Whilst this is not a current, explicit GMC requirement, we believe it is necessary in order to protect the position of the member, should a complaint arise.

We believe these criteria will ensure the best possible protection for members carrying out such work.

4 comments
  • By A R Markos on 13 October 2017 03:03

    Providing a report ion condition and prognosis is direct patient care, upon which the medico-legal claim will settle; to provide the patient with prospective care. Taking the expert witness duty, to court; the report is, theoretically at least, neutral.

    The report will be interpreted by the patient as " Prognosis Report"  and the patient will live for time to come with the understanding that his/her prognosis is what the report said. There is indirect  medical advice of a kind. There is direct medical care, whatever the "expert" perceives !

  • By Hugh Cannell on 26 May 2017 06:06

    The view that a Condition and Prognosis exam is necessarily one which demands a licence to practice still seems onerous. If a chaperone is needed for a full examination then perhaps the trigger to ask for one should be lower. Otherwise in my speciality, my barber does more damage to my ectodermal tissues than I do during an examination for C & P.

    Also the definition of a patient/doctor relationship should be considered. If health care related advice is sought by a Claimant or suggested by the examining person, then that defines the situation as a clinical one.

    Add to that my promise to the GMC not to prescribe or to operate and the balance seems to be in favour of not having to ask for a licence to practice.

  • By Alice on 12 August 2016 09:54 Thank you for your comment, Dr Campbell. You have raised an interesting issue regarding the registration status of experts who no longer undertake clinical practice. There is indeed currently no GMC requirement for you or other experts who solely provide medicolegal reports to hold a license to practise, but it should be noted that since the waiving of expert immunity following the case of Jones v Kaney in 2011 medical experts have come under increasing scrutiny and been subjected to claims and other challenges. MPS policy is to require any doctor conducting a current condition and prognosis consultation/examination involving patient contact to maintain a licence to practise. MPS believes this is necessary in order to protect the position of the member should a complaint arise. With best wishes, The Web Team.
  • By Donald Campbell on 29 July 2016 11:58

    The GMC does not have an appropriate method of doing this

    When I tried to get advice from them they advised that I could be "appraised" by the Independent doctor's association who told me that they would (a) want £3,500 and £1,500 annually thereafter and (b) I would be appraised nit by a medicolegal expert or a Neurosurgeon but by a private GP???

    This seemed to be completely inappropriate and when I advised the GMC of this they said I need not register for a licence to practice but simply maintain registration without a licence so long as I was not intending to operate.

    Your "guidance" seems to have been prepared without actually talking to anyone doing this type of work - I lecture both in the UK and in Ireland on this and keep up to date regularly 

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