The way in which healthcare services are provided to patients is constantly evolving and for tech savvy doctors and patients there may not even be a face-to-face consultation.
Technological progress means the delivery of healthcare services will vary in a whole range of ways – formal or informal, on-line or face-to-face. The only constants are complexity and that any service delivery will involve a range of players; doctors, other healthcare professionals, practice owners or corporate entities.
When things go wrong, the working arrangements and ownership structures of the different participants means that it is sometimes difficult to understand who is carrying the risk, which party or parties own or part own the entity, who is ultimately responsible for staff and the risks involved in providing the services generally.
Doctors are responsible for the provision of the medical services they provide and must make their own Medical Indemnity Insurance arrangements but just what are the risks for others – owners, employers and employees? Doctors themselves can be either employed or working as contractors. This minefield of risk can be tricky to navigate.
Employees whether directly providing healthcare in the front-line or in administrative capacities may be exposed and may become a party to a patient claim or complaint. As healthcare services shift from the domain of the doctor to multidisciplinary teams, so the risk can also spread beyond the doctor.
The responsibility to respond to any claim or complaint made by a patient can require a detailed analysis and investigation of the facts to determine responsibility and where it lies:
- it may rest entirely with the doctor – in which case reliance is placed on the doctor’s own insurance; or
- responsibility may rest with others as either having caused, or contributed to, the patient outcome. It is important in such situations that no matter where responsibility lies that the relevant parties are properly supported and that any financial exposure is adequately insured
- Employee involvement will be determined by the facts and will fall for consideration by the insurer of their employer’s (assuming the employer is insured).
It is critical that practices or businesses providing healthcare services fully understand their own risks and not assume that their doctors’ individual Medical Indemnity Insurance will carry the day, as this may not be the case.
Expert advice on adequately insuring such risks is the key for any practice or business providing healthcare services, particularly in the constantly evolving healthcare environment.
Are you confident the advice you are currently receiving on your insurance needs takes into account the unique nature of your business and the services you provide?
Are you confident you are adequately insured and that your employees will be properly supported in the event they are involved in any claim or complaint?
Draw on our specialist medical indemnity expertise when you next review your insurance arrangements. Arrange a no-obligation review of your current insurance arrangements by calling us on 1800 777 156. Applying our knowledge of medical practice and insurance to your circumstances could be eye-opening.