MDU says there is a duty to safeguard doctors from the risk of moral injury

Response to the GMC's state of medical education and practice report.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is calling for doctors to be safeguarded from the risks of suffering a 'moral injury' caused by not being able to provide optimum patient care during the ongoing health crisis.

The MDU, the UK's leading medical defence organisation, made the call in response to today's publication of the GMC's state of medical education and practice in the UK. The report found an exhausted and disillusioned workforce, in which 30% of doctors feel unable to cope with their workload and 29% had seen patient safety compromised over the past year.

Dr Caroline Fryar, MDU head of advisory services, said:

"Today's report by the GMC makes for sobering reading and shows that the medical profession is understandably feeling exhausted and burned out due to relentless pressure. The GMC concludes that medical professionals are at risk of moral injury due to being unable to provide optimum levels of patient care.

"We say this places the regulator, government and employers under a moral duty to ensure doctors are better supported and have access to the resources they need to properly care for patients. In addition, MDU members can access a number of wellbeing services and support on our website.

"It is concerning to read that 29% of doctors felt that patient safety had been compromised over the past year and doctors are understandably worried about delays in care. NHS Resolution liabilities for clinical negligence claims already stand at over £82 billion and will further increase without urgent action. Doctors also need to be freed from administrative burdens to concentrate on front line care.

"Despite the challenges, there are some positives in the report. These include improvements in teamworking, closer links with community care services and greater awareness of the risks and benefits of remote consultations. It is also heartening to see that trainees are generally feeling properly supported. Never have we been more aware of the need to support trainees who are the workforce of the future."

This page was correct at publication on 15/12/2021. 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.