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< Case 3 of 6 >

As a consultant urologist, I go to a lot of meetings. So when my medical director asked me to attend a 9am meeting, I didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know the effect it would have on my life. 

It was like being punched, twice. First, I was told that two patients had made complaints relating to rough treatment during flexible cystoscopies, and poor communication on my part. Then I was told I’d be excluded from work while the issue was looked into.

When I stood up to leave, I realised that my legs were shaking

My brain felt frozen, unable to process the information. My medical director was still talking, telling me I would only be allowed to return to the hospital with their permission, and that further information would follow. When I stood up to leave, I realised that my legs were shaking. As I reached out to open the door, I saw that my hand was too.

A big part of me just felt bewildered. I literally could not believe what I’d heard, particularly the part about rough treatment. I could never have imagined this being said of the way I interact with my patients. Of course, you know that complaints are not uncommon. But somehow, you still believe it will never happen to you. 

I could see that with his expert support, there was a way through this mess

When I picked up the phone to Medical Protection, that changed. The call made it real, which was when the fear kicked in. At the same time, the medicolegal consultant assigned to my case made me feel reassured. Just from that first conversation, I could see that with his expert support there was a way through this mess. 

The way through turned out to be a lot more complicated than I could have imagined. Those two complaints spiralled into a web of drawn-out investigatory procedures fraught with inexplicable delays. I don’t like to think back to that time, but needless to say the situation affected everything. My working life, of course, but also my family life, my social life – something like this puts a cloud over everything. Even though you know you shouldn’t, you feel shame. At times, the fear that it will never be over is so intense it’s like a physical pain. 

They have a deep understanding of the challenges and stresses we face

The expertise of the team at Medical Protection was a lifeline, as was their moral support. The organisation employs many doctors,  so they have a deep understanding of the challenges and stresses we face.

Thanks to my medicolegal consultant, my exclusion was quickly downgraded to a restriction, a more proportionate measure considering that the rough treatment was an allegation at this point. This meant that while I couldn’t see patients, I was able to stay involved in work, by attending team meetings for example.

Over the months that followed, my medicolegal consultant  became indispensable. He fought my corner at the investigatory and regulatory restriction review meetings, and consistently moved things forward, despite the blocks we faced that were causing delays. Most importantly, he instigated a structured, timebound action plan and arranged mediation between myself and my clinical director.

The process taught me a lot. I now understand the importance of maintaining annual appraisals, especially in light of difficult working relationships. I’ve seen how vital mediation is in sorting out these difficulties, and how essential a structured action plan is to resolving situations like mine. Above all, I’ve realised how important it is to take the time to explain to patients exactly what will happen in any given procedure, particularly uncomfortable ones. 


There is no way I could have got through it without Medical Protection

Eventually, after the longest two years of my life, I was fully back in my role, the complaints of rough treatment having been proved a misunderstanding. I was working with a newly appointed clinical director and was soon revalidated. 

There is no way I could have got through it without Medical Protection. I simply would not have known where to start. They know their stuff inside-out, work tirelessly on your behalf, and are exceptionally skilled at dealing with difficult working relationships. I could not have had anyone better by my side. They really are, as they say, always there for you.

Get protection you can depend on from just £549*

This case is based on a real scenario, with some facts altered to preserve confidentiality.

*Cost shown is the annual membership price for a UK Medical Consultant working exclusively in the NHS. Subject to protection requirements and underwriting approval.

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