In 800 cases members needed help with regulatory, disciplinary or criminal investigations.
The figures, revealed in the MDU's annual report for 2017, come at a time when doctors are under increasing scrutiny from an adversarial medico-legal climate.
Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said:
'Doctors are becoming more aware that they can be held accountable in a number of ways following an adverse incident. Recent high profile cases of doctors convicted for gross negligence manslaughter and the government and GMC reviews which followed are a reminder to doctors of the ever-present risk of a criminal investigation and prosecution. An error that leads to a patient's death can set in motion a series of investigations not just by the police and coroner, but also by the GMC and the doctor's employer, for example.
'The MDU is the only medical defence organisation with a specialist in-house legal team expert in criminal law. We support doctors undergoing these difficult and often lengthy investigations and continue to push for changes to the procedure, highlighting the need to create a climate in which the need to learn lessons takes precedence over the rush to find someone to blame.'
Dr Paul Riordan-Eva, MDU chairman continued:
'Although the climate in which doctors work can often seem difficult, it's important to point out that professional standards are very high and our members continue to provide excellent care to their patients.
'We are dedicated to ensuring members are not disadvantaged by the current climate. We have 50 expert doctors and dentists who give immediate medico-legal advice and assistance to members in difficulty, supported by our in-house team of expert lawyers. This means the MDU is in a strong position to support members should the worst happen.'
This page was correct at publication on 09/08/2018. 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.