Keep a check on mental illness to prevent medical professional negligence claims

26th May 2015 by

One of the most complex and devastating forms of professional negligence is that of medical negligence. The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has recently been reported on the Pulse website as saying that GPs are currently working in an increasingly litigious environment and that it is taking its toll.

However, in a move which perhaps could be mirrored across many professions, the MPS has called for increased vigilance in the sector; suggesting that colleagues should be on the lookout for signs of mental illness in co-workers, so as to prevent lapses in judgment which could lead to medical mistakes and the potential for a negligence claim.

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, MPS medico-legal adviser, said that within the medical profession GPs were generally unlikely to ask for help as it could be construed that they were “unable to cope”.

Adding, “Doctors have a professional obligation to consider the impact that their or a colleague’s health could have on the care they provide to patients.”

In a BMA survey of more than 15,000 GPs, almost one in five said they had experienced work-related stress which was significant and unmanageable.

While healthcare provision may be one of the most stressful professions in terms of the potential life-threatening effect of negligence, it is fair to say that any professional making high-value decisions or giving specialised advice which could affect the fate of a large business, will, at some point, come under high levels of stress.

Perhaps more professional bodies should offer the same sort of advice as the MPS, so that colleagues could prevent the types of behaviours which may lead to professional negligence, whether it be among accountants, solicitors, or financial advisors.
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