Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

How can I find more information on career opportunities in allied areas such as medical ethics or medical law?

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7447.s172 (Published 01 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:s172
  1. Catriona Richardson, head of press
  1. Medical Protection Society

Abstract

Got a career or related problem that needs answering? Can't find the right person to point you in the right direction? Log on to the Advice Zone (www.bmjcareers.com/advicezone) for reliable medical careers advice. You can post a question or see if one of our 300 advisers has already answered a similar question. Here is a selection of questions and answers posted on the site.

Medical ethics and medical law have an array of career opportunities which are rewarding and challenging—but you do need to decide whether you want to be a doctor or a lawyer.

A number of formal education programmes exist for postgraduates in areas related to medical ethics and medical law. These include the LLM in legal aspects of medical practice at Cardiff University and the masters in medical ethics and law at King's College, London. Many of these courses can be done either full time or part time to fit in with your lifestyle. You can find out more information about different postgraduate courses at www.prospects.ac.uk.

At the Medical Protection Society (MPS) we employ a number of medicolegal advisers who are qualified doctors with an expertise in medical ethics and law. Most of our advisers have formal qualifications in these fields such as an LLB, LLM, or postgraduate diploma in law.

Our medicolegal advisers help doctors with the legal problems that arise from clinical practice, and each day they deal with complex problems that embrace medicine, ethics, and the law. They provide a telephone advisory service to members, including an emergency service at night and at weekends. Each year the MPS deals with more than 30 000 calls.

Medicolegal advisers are also responsible for handling new cases, which can cover a range of matters including clinical negligence claims, legal and ethical dilemmas arising from professional practice, and disciplinary procedures. This sort of work requires analytical skills, an eye for detail, and the ability to manage time effectively. Medicolegal advisers are expected to have advocacy and representational skills, which are necessary to put the member's case in a variety of tribunals and hearings, including disciplinary meetings.

Medicolegal advisers are also concerned with other areas of MPS work—for example, giving lectures and seminars or writing articles for publication. Medicolegal advisers deal with professional colleagues from a wide range of disciplines and specialties. They are expected to have a strong background of clinical experience, perhaps with a higher qualification as well. Experience of day to day involvement with patients is essential in understanding the real life situations and problems that doctors face.

If you would like further information please contact the human resources department at the Medical Protection Society, Granary Wharf House, Leeds LS11 5PY, tel 0845 605 4000.

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