In brief

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 14 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h180

Doctors practising “defensive” medicine more: Doctors are becoming more cautious and are practising “defensive” medicine to prevent litigation after treating patients and to avoid investigation, MPs on the Health Committee have been told during the annual accountability hearing for the doctors’ regulator the General Medical Council. Terence Stephenson, GMC chair, giving evidence, said, “My own experience is that medicine has become more defensive over my practising lifetime, and that is driven more by fear of litigation than fear of being reported to the regulator. Colleagues are conscious that, from their practice, they can be vilified in the press, they can be reported to a lawyer, and they can be complained against, to their trust.”

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