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MDU expands peer support service for doctors

by Julie Griffiths
18 August 2023

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The peer support service run by the Medical Defence Union (MDU) has been expanded to include help for those going through a range of medico-legal matters, such as complaints.

Launched in 2020, originally to help doctors undergoing GMC investigations, the service has now been widened out to offer support with inquests, complex complaints and claims.

The MDU’s peer support programme connects members who are struggling with a complex medico-legal matter with a colleague who has been through a similar process.

Dr Matthew Lee, MDU chief executive, said that dealing with these types of incidents can have an impact on professional and personal lives.

Having a conversation with a colleague who has been through something similar can be a huge comfort, he said.

‘These colleagues offer personal support, guidance and reassurance,’ said Dr Lee.

‘We are delighted to be able to extend the peer support programme so that more members will have someone to talk to at a difficult time.’

In 2022, the MDU team of medico and dento-legal advisers took over 21,000 calls on its advice lines, its annual report for 2022 showed.

Management in Practice reported in May that just over 40% of GPs under GMC investigation have suicidal thoughts, and nearly half considered quitting medicine as a result of the process.

Last November, the Practitioner Health service, which offers free, confidential services to help NHS staff with a range of mental health conditions and addictions, extended its help to anyone working in primary care.