Practices are being warned to ensure all patients are aware of all information being disclosed to insurance companies in order to protect themselves against a rise in complaints.
Members of the Medical Protection Society (MPS) have reported some insurance companies are now asking GPs for a patient’s full medical record for their own assessments when deciding insurance policies, rather than obtaining a general practitioner report (GBR).
Dr Stephanie Bown, Director of Policy and Communications at MPS, said the practice has been “throwing up some problems”.
GPs are being warned that patients may be signing consent forms without realising the possible implications on their policy or insurance application, which could lead to complaints against practices or individual GPs.
“For example, an insurance company may come across something in a patient’s medical history, such as a short course of anti-depressants prescribed ten years previously, and treat this as a risk when considering whether to offer an insurance policy,” said Dr Bown.
”The patient may have forgotten about this course of treatment and not realise that the insurance company has access to that information and could hold the GP responsible if this negatively affects their application.
“GPs should ensure that the patient properly understands what they have authorised in order to avoid problems.
“If a doctor is unsure whether their patient realises what they have agreed to, they should always check the patient’s understanding”