GPs could face two lawsuits during career, experts warn

Full-time GPs could face two lawsuits over the course of a 35-year career, the Medical Protection Society (MPS) has said.

Consultation: full-time GPs could face two lawsuits during career (Photo: JH Lancy)
Consultation: full-time GPs could face two lawsuits during career (Photo: JH Lancy)

GPs working today are twice as likely to face a claim over clinical negligence than those working seven years ago.

A third of the 600 GPs surveyed had been accused of clinical negligence, and the vast majority (88%) were concerned about being sued.

Higher patient expectations, workload pressures putting patient care at risk, and greater media coverage about medical lawsuits were the main reasons GPs were concerned.

Impact on GP health

Fear of lawsuits could be driving down morale and harming recruitment efforts, the MPS said.

‘Unfortunately, GPs are more likely to be sued now than ever before,’ said Dr Rob Hendry, medical director at the MPS.

‘Worryingly, over a typical career, the average full-time GP could now expect to receive two claims against them if our recent experience is indicative of the continuing future environment for claims against GPs.

‘Being sued can have a significant impact on the health of doctors, with 86% of GP survey respondents stating that their involvement in a claim impacted on their morale and 74% feeling it impacted on their confidence.’

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