This course explores common medico-legal issues that General Practitioners face in their everyday practice. It is based around a hypothetical case study about a GP’s failure to follow up a patient who was referred for investigation of a breast lump and includes discussion on test tracking and follow-up, delayed diagnosis, practice systems, doctor-patient communication, use of chaperones and managing of adverse outcomes.
Relevance to General Practice
In an increasingly litigious medical environment, an awareness of the medico-legal hazards associated with practice is vital for GPs. GPs are involved every day in a wide range of issues, such as patient confidentiality, consent to treatment, dealing with complaints, providing reports and the keeping of medical records. Any of these may give rise to difficulties if the GP is unaware of the principles of the correct medico-legal approach. Nash L, Walton M, Daly M, Johnson M, Walter G, van Ekert E, Willcock S, Tennant C. GP’s concerns about medico-legal issues – how it affects their practice. Australian Family Physician 2009; 38(1/2): 66-70. http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/200901/200901nash.pdf
- List the key factors that impact on adverse events relating to recall and follow-up of patient appointments and test results.
- Identify the benefits of effective use of open disclosure.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the most appropriate way to handle an unexpected or adverse outcome.
- Describe the clinical and system errors that contribute to missed/delayed diagnosis claims and appreciate the strategies that minimise their occurrence.
Domains of General Practice
D1. Communication skills and the patient-doctor relationship
D2. Applied professional knowledge and skills
D3. Population health and the context of general practice
D4. Professional and ethical role
D5. Organisational and legal dimensions
Curriculum Contextual Units
- Adult health
- Care of older people
- Children and young people health
- Individuals with disabilities
- Men's health
- Pregnancy care
- Refugee and asylum seeker health
- Residential care
- Sex, sexuality, gender diversity and health
- Women's health