MDA National Members have access to online medico-legal information that relates to the working environment and responsibilities of junior doctors.

We will be regularly updating these tips with new medico-legal information, so check back in the future to see what has changed.

  • Seek advice – remember that you are in a training position and entitled to obtain assistance. If you are uncertain about what to do in a particular clinical situation or you are uncomfortable about performing a particular procedure - no matter how small - discuss it with your registrar or consultant.
  • Communication, both written and oral, is the cornerstone of good medical practice. Communication failures in the chain of care are the most common cause of preventable patient disability or death, and are nearly twice as common as problems due to inadequate medical skills.
  • Make legible, concise and contemporaneous notes. The primary purpose of the medical records is to allow another practitioner to continue the management of the patient. The records are also your best defence in the event of a complaint or claim. Good medical record keeping is an important clinical skill. Bullet point documentation will suffice.
  • If you receive a request for a medico-legal report, for example from the police or the Coroner, always seek advice from MDA National before providing the information. It is essential that you maintain your duty of confidentiality to the patient even though they are deceased.
  • If you do receive a complaint, you are not alone. It has been estimated that about one in twenty doctors receive a formal complaint every year. Contact MDA National for advice, assistance in formulating a response and reassurance.