MDU advises GP members on how to handle a historic developmental dysplasia claim

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has today provided guidance to GPs on claims that can be brought following an alleged delayed diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hips.

In the latest edition of the MDU journal, published today, the MDU explains that such claims can arise many years after the alleged negligent act, because a child can bring a claim at any point up until their 21st birthday.

Furthermore, the impact of any delayed diagnosis can take many years to become apparent, as the child grows and reaches skeletal maturity.

This is demonstrated by the fact that even though the majority of claims against GPs arising from events occurring on or after 1 April 2019 fall to the Clinical Negligence Scheme for GPs, we're still receiving notification of claims against GPs related to delayed diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hips, following appointments occurring prior to April 2019. In fact, an analysis of claims notified to us since 2010, found that the average delay from incident date to notification was 6.3 years.

Dr Claire Wratten, senior medical claims handler and claims team manager, said:

"As these claims can be brought many years after the appointment in question, it’s important to have clear and detailed records of which tests were carried out.

"The MDU liaises with independent experts in both general practice and paediatric orthopaedics, who will be asked to give an opinion on what the likely findings were on the date of the examination. Additionally, they will be asked for the prognosis for the child's hip(s) given when the condition was diagnosed, compared to how the hips would have functioned with earlier diagnosis.

"Once the experts' advice has been obtained, we advise the member as to how the claim should be responded to."

This page was correct at publication on 31/07/2023. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.