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By doctors, for doctors – medical advisor support

Sep 21, 2017

Medico-legal support has never been more important. The current regulatory environment is focused on accountability for the profession and ensuring patients have an avenue for complaint.

The decline in small-value compensation claims (due to law reform) has had the effect of increasing complaints to the regulators.

Medical advisors across the specialities

Avant is fortunate to be large enough to have extensive resources, including the clinical experience of 20 doctors across the states and specialities, who can support any medico-legal issue. 

As one of those medical advisors, I provide a range of support. Being a fellow professional with 40 years’ experience as an obstetrician and gynaecologist is probably the most important.

Every claim has a medical advisor

When a member meets with their Avant claims manager and solicitor, a medical advisor is there as a colleague who can interpret the medical jargon and records. This knowledge can have a significant impact on the strategy used for a claim, particularly when combined with years of medico-legal experience at Avant.

Counselling members through the emotions that arise when a complaint or claim is received, helps reduce their stress and increase their resilience. Occasionally, we also see it appropriate to suggest a member attend to their health issues, or consider their career options, including retirement.

Personal peer support in each state

When talking through medico-legal claims with members, many unveil an underlying issue of poor communication. Dealing with a claim offers the doctor an opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and consider any changes that may need to be made to their practice.

As we seek the best outcome for the member, few civil or disciplinary claims reach a hearing in a court or tribunal, with most settled beforehand, or successfully defended and withdrawn.

If a member does have to front up to court, the experience can be very stressful. However, they are never alone – we help with preparation and accompany our member in court.

Sharing our expertise

Medical advisors contribute to Avant’s educational resources by writing articles and giving talks at hospitals, practices and conference. We also help with member enquiries to Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service.

Expert advice whenever you need it  

Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service is staffed by 70 solicitors, doctors and claims managers across our state offices. For more information on common situations visit our website, or for immediate advice, call our Medico-legal Advisory Service (MLAS) on 1800 128 268, 24/7 in emergencies.  

Share your view

We welcome your feedback on this article – email the Editor at: editor@avant.org.au