Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 1, January-February 2009

GPs’ concerns about medicolegal issues How it affects their practice

Louise Nash Merrilyn Walton Michele Daly Maree Johnson Garry Walter Elizabeth van Ekert Simon Willcock Chris Tennant
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General practitioners’ concerns about medicolegal issues have been shown to influence the practice of medicine. This research looks at GPs’ beliefs about medicolegal issues and how medicolegal concerns affect their practice.
This study found that GPs’ concerns about medicolegal matters impact on their practise of medicine. While greater awareness of medicolegal issues may lead to positive impacts, the negative impact of their concerns is that some changes arise from anxiety about medicolegal matters rather than from the exercise of good clinical judgment.
General practitioners with previous medicolegal experiences were more likely than their colleagues to report believing the law required them to make perfect decisions and that medicolegal factors made them consider early retirement from medicine. They were also less likely to believe that inadequate communication is a factor in most complaints. More than half the GPs reported having made practice changes due to medicolegal concerns in the following areas: test ordering (73%); specialist referrals (66%); systems to track test results (70%); and communication of risk to patients (68%). Other changes were reported less frequently.

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Printed from Australian Family Physician - https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2009/january-february/medicolegal-issues
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