Increased checks on doctors could help see a fall in clinical negligence cases

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The Government announces a £1 million fund to support the new proposals for performance checks on the 150,000 doctors on the medical register. MyClaim welcomes this increased regulation when it is estimated that close to a million people in the UK suffer unnecessarily as a result of the negligence of health care professionals, every year.

the biggest change to medical regulation in 150 years

It has been reported this month that the Government will announce a £1 million fund to support the new proposals for performance checks on the 150,000 doctors on the medical register.

It is proposed that doctors are to face annual competence tests, and that those who do not perform adequately will have their license to practice medicine withdrawn. Furthermore, doctors will be required to renew their practising licenses every five years. The President of the General Medical Council, Sir Graeme Catto, has described the proposals as "the biggest change to medical regulation in 150 years". The new scheme is designed to remove doctors from practice that repeatedly fail to meet standards of competence, and in turn raise standards of medical practice in the UK.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the government's Chief Medical officer, who has set out the new plans will appoint a team of doctors to decide how best to implement the new proposals, and the scheme will be piloted early in 2009. Under the new system senior doctors will assess other doctors in their area of practice, to ensure that they meet standards. Patents will also be involved in the process and will be asked how their doctor communicates with them.

MyClaim can only welcome this increased regulation of doctors and the government's financial commitment to the scheme; when it is estimated that close to a million people in the UK suffer unnecessarily as a result of the negligence of health care professionals, every year. These cases arise from a variety of circumstances and examples include among others misdiagnoses, the administering of incorrect doses of drugs, surgical errors, lack of consent, breakdown in communication, birthing problems and falls. MyClaim hopes that the annual competence tests will lead to a drop in medical negligence claims within the personal injury sector.

Whist MyClaim acknowledges that a balance must be struck between the strict regulation of doctors and allowing them the freedom to take necessary risks, so as to avoid defensive medicine; incompetence is clearly unacceptable, and it considers that these changes can only benefit medicine within the UK.

If you are unfortunate enough to be or have been the victim of clinical negligence, you may wish to bring a claim for compensation. Clinical negligence cases are inherently complex in nature and it is imperative that you instruct the right solicitors to give your claim the best chance of success.

You need to make sure that your claim will be handled by a firm of solicitors with a highly acclaimed clinical negligence team. You should also ensure that the team of solicitors handling your case will include lawyers both qualified in law and medicine, who's inside knowledge is invaluable.

Finally, look for representation that can offer their clients No Win No Fee Solicitors on the basis that guarantees the claimant will receive 100% of the compensation.

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Damian Horan
MyClaim
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