MDU calls on government to make regulatory reform top priority

MDU medico-legal agenda outlines government priorities.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is calling on the newly appointed health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, to make support for exhausted doctors and regulatory reform the top healthcare priorities for the government.

The MDU published its medico-legal government agenda which outlines three key priorities.

  1. Support an exhausted workforce - study after study has demonstrated more doctors are suffering from burnout. This is not good for them or patients. The government must do more to support doctors and stop fatigue setting in.
  2. Deliver modern healthcare professional regulation - top-to-bottom reform of GMC regulation, which is too rigid and governed by outdated legislation.
  3. Get to grips with runaway clinical negligence costs - the costs of meeting future claims liabilities for the NHS in England now stands at £128 billion. The total budget for the NHS in 2022/23 is expected to be £155 billion. This is not a sustainable situation and legal reform is desperately needed to rebalance the system.

MDU chief executive Dr Matthew Lee said:

"Doctors are working flat out to care for patients, in many cases to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing. They deserve the support and resources needed to enable them to take regular breaks so that they can care for patients safely.

"If they then face scrutiny by their regulator, the GMC, it can be truly devastating for them. Doctors deserve a regulatory system that is proportionate, timely and fair. The legislation needed to modernise regulation was due to be introduced this year and was then delayed - it needs to be a top priority again.

"Meanwhile, much needed funds could be retained in the NHS through legal reform of the system under which billions of pounds are leaving the NHS in clinical negligence claims.

"If the government wants to prove its commitment to the medical profession and to boost morale, we urge them to seriously consider our package of priorities."

Read about the MDU agenda: priorities for the new government here (PDF).

This page was correct at publication on 28/10/2022. 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.