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Ms Shipsey outlined that Medisec arranges insurance for just over half of GPs in the State and these members carry out in the region of 12-to-13 million consultations per annum.
There had been “very little change” in the claims statistics over recent years, despite increasing membership, she told delegates at the Dublin conference.
“Thirty-five claims, some of which will be successfully defended, out of 12 to 13 million consultations is truly remarkable,” said Ms Shipsey, adding that it was indicative of the high level of care provided by member GPs to their patients.
Where mistakes were made by GPs, Medisec’s claims philosophy with Allianz was to “do the ethical thing” and settle such claims swiftly, while supporting GP members through a difficult process, she said.
Ms Shipsey stated that where it was believed a doctor was not negligent “we with Allianz and our legal teams strenuously defend such suits”. She said this was important in respect of stemming the “floodgates of litigation”.
The Medisec CEO pointed out that despite consistently high satisfaction ratings for doctors, there has been an increase in the number of complaints.
She noted that nearly half of complaints received by the Medical Council concern GPs.
“We believe the explanation for this is that patients are very engaged with their GP and if the therapeutic relationship or doctor/patient relationship breaks down, the patient is more likely to feel aggrieved and complain, than [about] a doctor in a hospital setting with whom they have little or no contact.”
Last year Medisec assisted members with 60 complaints to the Council. “The very positive news is that not one of our Medisec members who received a complaint over the last number of years has gone forward to a Fitness to Practise Committee hearing.”
Ms Shipsey said that Medisec “strongly” advises GPs to have a complaints policy in their practice so that matters can be dealt with at local level.
She said members are advised to engage with Medisec in the event of a medico-legal or ethical dilemma. “No query is too small and this year to date our team has received over 1,100 requests for assistance,” she told delegates.