MDU appoints criminal law specialist to head legal team

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has appointed a solicitor specialising in criminal and regulatory legal proceedings as its new head of legal services. Nick Tennant has been promoted to the role after 15 years working as a solicitor in the MDU’s in-house legal team. He oversees the work of an expert team of 24 solicitors, three paralegals and support staff.

The MDU’s in-house legal department supports doctors and other healthcare professionals facing negligence claims, GMC investigations, criminal investigations and inquests. The team has gone from strength to strength since it was first established thirty years ago.

Nick takes over from Joanne Bateman, who recently retired after more than seven years in the job. Nick commented:

“It is a great honour to be taking over from Jo who has overseen a very successful period for our team.

“We work closely with the MDU’s medicolegal advisers to secure the best outcomes for our members and understand that, at this time of heightened pressure in healthcare, our members are under incredible strain when they come to us for support.

“The results we achieve in supporting members with GMC investigations are a great example of the uncompromising defence we provide. In 2022, our in-house team resolved 85% of cases without a tribunal hearing, where we represented members at the case examiner stage. Of those that proceeded to a tribunal hearing, there was no finding of impairment against our members in 55% of cases. This represents a much better outcome for our members when compared to the most recent figures for cases overall from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).

“I am really looking forward to building on the strengths of such a high performing team which continues to help members navigate the difficult medicolegal environment.”

Dr Hugh Stewart, MDU professional services director, said:

“We know from our own research that nearly nine in ten healthcare professionals say workplace pressures have increased over the last year. The NHS staff survey results also show high levels of burnout with staff feeling stressed and demoralised. If you then throw a medicolegal investigation into the mix, it can be truly devastating for doctors and other healthcare professionals. That’s why the work of our in-house legal team is so crucial at supporting members and ensuring they get a fair hearing.

“I am confident that Nick and the team will continue to successfully guide, support and defend members with the myriad of medicolegal investigations healthcare professionals encounter during their careers.”