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Tips to support receptionists to manage challenging patient situations

Dr Rachel Birch, Medico-Legal Consultant at Medical Protection, explains how clear policies, procedures, and trainingcan help receptionists avoid conflict with patients The role of receptionists in general practice is vital and will have been particularly challenging following the changes in how general practice provides services to their patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the receptionist…

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Responding to requests for patient information

Ms Claire Cregan, In-house Counsel at Medisec, provides advice on managing requests for patient records. Confidentiality is a time-honoured principle of medical ethics and is fundamental to the therapeutic relationship between a doctor and their patient. A patient’s health record contains information of such a sensitive nature that a doctor’s ethical obligation to maintain confidentiality…

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A guide to preventing and responding to violent incidents

Dr Michael Devlin, Medical Defence Union, Head of Professional Standards and Liaison, provides advice on how to deal with aggressive patients Staff shortages, overcrowding and exceptional patient demand are some of the factors that have contributed to a pressure cooker atmosphere in many healthcare settings, which is taking its toll on staff and patients alike.…

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Covid anxiety: How to support your patients

Dr Rachel Birch, Medico-legal Consultant at Medical Protection, addresses the issue of patients with Covid anxiety and offers practical advice for GP practices and hospital outpatient settings There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused concern to many, if not all of us. However, as the pandemic continues, and more waves of infection…

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Conflicts between parents and issues of consent

Ms Síle O’Dowd, Legal Counsel at Medisec Ireland CLG, addresses some of the key considerations when there aredisagreements between guardians/ parents regarding treatment and the release of information in respect of minor patients. The starting point for considering any request for information relating to a minor patient, or a request to be involved in decisions…

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Speaking out for patient safety

Medico-Legal Opinion Dr Michael Devlin, Head of Professional Standards and Liaison at the Medical Defence Union, explains what doctors need to know about raising a concern. While the prospect of raising concerns about issues affecting patient safety can feel intimidating, doing so promptly and in the right way can prevent patients coming to harm and…

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When no doesn’t mean no

Ms Aisling Timoney, GP Lead Counsel with Medisec, examines the position in Irish law of adult patients refusing potentially life-saving medical intervention on religious or cultural grounds Time is generally of the essence in any situation where a patient refuses life-saving treatment for religious or cultural reasons. It may be helpful to practitioners to be…

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Instant messaging and social media posts – Nothing is private

Dr Gabrielle Pendlebury, Medico-Legal Consultant, and Ms Ceylan Simsek, Case Manager at Medical Protection,advise how to minimise medico-legal risk in various online settings Many doctors may not be aware that they could face scrutiny by the regulator should private messages be perceived as unprofessional, offensive or inappropriate by others. The standards expected of doctors do…

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Breaking down the elements of a claim

Ms Dee Duffy, Legal Counsel at Medisec, explains why gaining familiarity with the steps involved in litigation can help doctors prepare and manage expectations Some doctors will be involved in the defence of civil litigation during the course of their career. The incidence of litigation is undoubtedly higher in some medical specialties, but it tends…

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Ensuring good record-keeping and timely referrals

Dr James Thorpe, Senior Medical Educator and Medico-legal Consultant, outlines how medical records that demonstratesatisfactory assessment and decision-making can help protect doctors against future claims and complaints Medical Protection provides expert advice and support to GP members on medico-legal matters arising from their professional practice. This can include providing assistance with claims for compensation, complaints…

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