The Covid-19 pandemic has led to record numbers of doctors seeking support and advice with medico-legal and membership queries, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said today.
During the height of the pandemic, the MDU, the UK’s leading medical defence organisation which has over 200,000 members, saw a 57% increase in doctors visiting its website for medico-legal advice on areas such as death certificates and remote consultations. Meanwhile, the MDU’s membership team dealt with almost 40,000 calls and 46,000 emails from members between April and July. Many members whose work circumstances had changed, contacted us to adjust their subscription.
The MDU released the figures as it published its annual report for 2019 showing the mutual defence organisation’s strong financial position – a key factor in allowing a quick and efficient response to members’ changing needs during the pandemic.
Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive commented:
“Our annual report looks back on the issues affecting members during 2019, but no one could have anticipated the events that would so dramatically impact all of us in 2020.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals have been making enormous personal and professional sacrifices and medical practice has had to change fast. Innovations such as the shift to remote consultations have happened virtually overnight and it’s no wonder that MDU members are looking for trusted information and advice from us on the medico-legal implications of this and all the other issues arising from the pandemic.
“Many members work circumstances have changed dramatically with doctors coming out of retirement or working in unfamiliar settings. This led to a surge in calls to our membership helpline but we have maintained our excellent levels of service throughout. Between April and July this year, our membership team answered over 82% of almost 40,000 calls within 20 seconds. This is important because our members’ time is precious and we know they value a quick and accurate response to their queries.”
Dr Paul Riordan-Eva, MDU chairman continued:
“We recognise the immense pressure our members face in carrying out their clinical duties and are constantly striving to alleviate it. This underlies everything we do and has never been more important that during the current health emergency.
“Our strong financial position and experienced team meant that we were able to quickly adapt to the new working conditions of the pandemic while continuing to fully support members at this uncertain time.”
The MDU is a not-for-profit organisation wholly dedicated to our members’ interests. Our team is led and staffed by doctors with real-life experience of the pressures and challenges faced in practice.
We offer our members expert guidance, personal support and robust defence in addressing medico-legal issues, complaints and claims. Our customised services range from legal assistance to indemnity to appropriate CPD.
Dawn Boyall, Jessica Hammonds, Fernanda Nidecker in the MDU’s press office
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