MDU launches new membership support for consultants in Ireland to bridge state indemnity gap

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has launched a new membership service for consultants working in the Republic of Ireland.

Aimed at consultants working in public hospitals where all their clinical practice is indemnified by the State Claims Agency, MDU membership provides support for medico-legal issues not covered by the state scheme.

Dr Michael Devlin, MDU head of professional standards and liaison, said:

"The MDU has a long history of providing expert medico-legal advice and support to doctors working in Ireland. We want to use our expertise to offer membership benefits to consultants solely working in public hospitals as our research indicates doctors in this position would value additional support with elements not covered by the State Claims Agency scheme.

"It is important to understand that the function of the clinical indemnity scheme is to provide indemnity by the state for clinical negligence claims. It does not, for example, provide assistance should a complaint be made to the Medical Council. Not only are such complaints potentially complex and stressful, but they can be very expensive, with a complaint going as far as a hearing costing up to €60,000 in defence costs. MDU membership offers support with Medical Council and patient complaints and also for inquests (where there might be a conflict between a doctor and their hospital), disciplinary hearings and criminal investigations.

"Consultants working in public hospitals who become members will greatly benefit from our expert guidance, personal support and robust defence if their clinical competence or care of patients is questioned. MDU membership provides peace of mind for them."

MDU membership is designed for consultants who do not do any private clinical work and whose annual income from certain non-clinical work is up to €1,500 gross. It does not include indemnity for clinical negligence claims.

MDU membership provides access to:

  • 24-hour access to our team of experienced medico-legal advisers
  • support with Medical Council investigations
  • representation at disciplinary investigations that relate to professional conduct
  • help preparing responses to complaints
  • assistance with criminal investigations arising from clinical practice
  • representation at the coroner's court
  • 24-hour access to press and media helpline
  • indemnity for Good Samaritan acts worldwide
  • indemnity for certain fee paying non-clinical work not covered by state indemnity, up to €1,500 income each year. This includes providing medical reports, signing death notification and cremation forms, witness statements for the Garda and reports to the coroner.

For further information and details of how to become a member see themdu.com/ireland

This page was correct at publication on 16/02/2021. 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.