Gross negligence manslaughter and defensive medicine
Recently there has been an alarming increase in the number of doctors and other healthcare workers being prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter (GNM), with a great deal of personal disruption and devastation as a result. Almost all of the mistakes that resulted in these criminal prosecutions could be construed as ‘system errors’ rather than the sole responsibility of a single clinician. More often than not the case will rely on the stated opinion of medical ‘experts’, whose knowledge and independence are variable and who are totally unregulated. Moreover, the judicial process, which is adversarial and often unduly prolonged, has more often than not prevented important lessons from being learned from the underlying inadvertent mistakes.
A survey has just been launched to evaluate whether or not the rising incidence of criminal prosecutions has resulted in doctors adopting a more defensive (and therefore expensive) form of medicine. Do go online to https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MK85BHR and fill in the questionnaire.
In addition, please add your own comments below about this disturbing recent trend.